Local officials who fail should be charged or removed

MATUGUINAO, Samar – The mayor of this town has issued a challenge to President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an ultimatum to all local officials in the fight against insurgency problem.
Mayor Aran Boller said that if the President has issued an ultimatum to mayors and governors on road clearing, why not do the same thing on the fight against members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
And those who will fail to end the insurgency problem should be charged or removed from office, the mayor said.
“If only I will be given a chance to talk to the President, I will appeal to him to give us ultimatum until December of this year to end the local armed conflict,” Boller said during an interview Wednesday (Feb.26).
“Just like when they gave us ultimatum in implementing the road clearing, an ultimatum should also be given to us to end this insurgency problem,” the town mayor added.
Boller said that because there is an ultimatum on road clearing operation, local officials are active in enforcing the order and meeting the deadline set which is on April of this year.
“Those who will fail to comply the ultimatum, the governor or city or municipal mayor should be charged or removed from office,” he said.
Pres. Duterte earlier vowed to crush the insurgency problem of the country by 2022, the end of his six-year term in Malacañang.
According to Boller, it would be a futile exercise for local officials like himself who is exerting efforts to end the insurgency problem at their localities while other mayors are not doing the same thing.
“These NPA members would only move from one place to the next whose mayor is, out of fear, is not fighting against them,” Boller said.
Boller said that since he assumed the post as mayor of the town, which has a population of more than 7,800 spread on its 20 barangays and has a poverty incidence of more than 60 percent which is the highest in Eastern Visayas, more than 150 sympathizers and rebel members have surrendered.
Those who surrender were given cash and livelihood assistance by the local government unit.
Boller said that advocacy to end the insurgency should not only be implemented by one local government unit but must by all local leaders to ensure that country’s long-running insurgency problem would come to its end.
“Why should we be afraid, we are receiving salary from the government? You’re a useless mayor if you got easily be threatened by rebels,” he said.
Because the national government is serious and had made it as a target for achievement before President Duterte steps down in 2022, Boller said that this is the right time to end the communist problem that has long been affecting towns like Matuguinao, which for the longest time is haunted by poverty and remains underdeveloped.
In last month’s Balik-Loob program of the LGU more than 150 former rebel and supporters had pledge to again support the government with at least 92 of them are already been processed for verification.
Boller also shares that he is offering an amount P50,000 for rebel or supporter who will surrender before the end of March, which he give as ultimatum for his residents who are with or supporting the government’s enemy.
The amount is on top, the cash assistance from the provincial government and from the national government through the enhanced comprehensive local integration program (e-Clip).
During the demilitarization of recovered and surrendered firearms at the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army Commanding General B/Gen Gilbert Gapay, he said that top officials of the government is conducting talks on setting ultimatum for rebels to surrender.
B/Gen Gapay said that the ultimatum may be set at the middle of this year.
Those who will not surrender after the ultimatum pass will be the target of military operation.
“To rebels, please surrender now and avail the e-Clip or else our operating forces will be running after you,” Gapay said.