By Prince Golez
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Sunday slammed as “an act of desperation” the recent assertion by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) against the Barangay Development Program (BDP).
The CPP-NPA, through its chief information officer Marco Valbuena, earlier said that the “band-aid projects of roads, school buildings and health centers under the BDP and NTF-Elcac (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) merely cover up the roots of peasant unrest in the countryside.”
Esperon said the projects under the BDP are a result of multi-sectoral consultations with threatened communities in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas.
The selection of barangay recipients and their corresponding programs and projects underwent stringent vetting procedures from national agencies, according to him.
The secretary also disputed Valbuena’s pronouncement that P20 million will be distributed among 215 barangays to fund various projects under the program.
“The P20M worth of programs and projects he speaks of is to be give to each barangay cleared of the NPA threat and influence from 2016-2019… There are 822 barangays that shall each be receiving P20M BDP assistance,” he said.
Esperon likewise clarified that civilian agencies will implement the BDP, contrary to Valbuena’s claim that the development program is a “military-dominated NTF-Elcac.”
“For the CPP to publish this erroneous report by Mr. Valbuena on the Barangay Development Program is evidence of their increasing desperation,” he said.