The National Task Force and Regional Task Force 8 to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF 8 ELCAC) turned over dozens of benefits and development assistance to over 300 municipalities, barangays, and former rebels present during the Joint Meeting on 18 March 2021 at the Summit Hotel, Tacloban City.

Secretaries of different government agencies led the turnover of Php 20 million Barangay Development Program (BDP) Fund for each six (6) identified barangays in the region; distribution of E-CLIP benefits, livelihood packages, and scholarship commitments for former rebels (FRs) and ELCAC focus barangays; turnover of 1,768 certificates of land ownership award for agrarian reform beneficiaries in the region; and the oath-taking of officers of the Eastern Visayas Regional Federation of Former Rebels; among many others.

President Rodrigo Duterte graced the meeting after his visit to Guiuan, Eastern Samar for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world.

The President hailed the significant progress that the NTF and RTF have made in ending the decades-long conflict in the country after hearing the report rendered by RTF 8 Chairperson and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo D. Del Rosario.

“We find ourselves facing the dangers that we have been trying to overcome for decades. Today we take a giant leap towards ending the threat of communist insurgency in our country once and for all,” said President Duterte.

The activity was jointly organized by the DILG VIII and NEDA VIII, as co-secretariat of the RTF 8, in coordination with PMS 8. Aside from President Duterte and members of his cabinet, officials from the NTF-ELCAC were also present including NTF-ELCAC Vice Chairperson and National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr. and NTF Executive Director and National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Chairperson Allen A. Capuyan.

Regional dignitaries were also present including Regional Peace and Order Council – Eastern Visayas (RPOC-EV) Chairperson Ben P. Evardone, Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII Chairperson Leopoldo L. Petilla, RDC VIII Co-Chairperson Luisita J. Quebec, and Congresspersons, Governors, Mayors, and Regional Directors of RTF 8 member agencies.