Cagayan de Oro City – The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict – Northern Mindanao (RTF-ELCAC X) hosted the Mindanao Island Group Summit on RTF-ELCAC / Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) on 10 October 2019 at the Mallberry Suites Business Hotel, Limketkai, Cagayan de Oro City.

The first of a three-leg confab, the activity was participated in by CORDS advisers from the PNP and PA; RTF-ELCAC officials and members from the six Mindanao regions composed of agency heads from the DILG, NCIP, NEDA, NICA, PIA, PMS; and local chief executives.

Participants of the NTF-ELCAC First Island Group Summit

Gracing the summit were National Security Adviser (NSC) and National Task Force (NTF)-ELCAC Vice-Chairperson Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.,  NTF-ELCAC Secretariat Deputy Executive Director Francis Jude Lauengco, NSC Deputy Director General Rufino Lopez, Jr., CORDS-IX and Development of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista, CORDS-XII and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Isidro Lapeña, and CORDS Caraga and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles.

Also present were DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen O. Paje; Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy; Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary Danielle Marie S.  Rieza-Culangen;  Department of National Defense  (DND) Undersecretary Cesar B. Yano; Chief of Planning, Policies and Program Development (PPPD), J3, Colonel Efren T Morados; Eastern Mindanao Command Commander LtGen Felimon T Santos, Jr; Western Mindanao Command Commander LtGen Cirilito E Sobejana; and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno.

Secretary Esperon, in his opening message said, “We should battle the communist terrorist group (CTG) not only as a region, but as a nation. This is why we are here today – to learn from the successes of others and close the gaps that we have. The accomplishments and ideas and concerns presented during this activity will serve as inputs to the National Summit.”

Aside from the reporting of accomplishments in operationalizing Executive Order (EO) by the RTFs, also presented were the security situation update in Mindanao, EO 70 implementation updates, highlights of the NTF-ELCAC Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1 (s. 2019), Local Peace Engagement Guidelines, and the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).

Press Conference during the NTF-ELCAC First Island Group Summit

NEDA-X Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño, CESO III, in her synthesis, emphasized the need for focused targeting and convergence of efforts as espoused by EO 70 to ensure that no one is left behind, as well as, promote inclusive and sustainable peace. She likewise highlighted the initial gains of the RTFs-ELCAC in Mindanao including the Line of Efforts (LoE) Clusters, the common concern, and the ways forward to operationalize EO 70 through the Regional/Local ELCAC Task Forces. Side events included a press conference, a gallery viewing of Mindanao-wide issues and recommendations, and solidarity dinner.

Dignitaries, head of regional government agencies during the NTF-ELCAC First Island Group Summit