TACLOBAN CITY – Samar province has recently completed its first project under the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP), a PHP4 million school building for daycare learners in a remote village in Motiong town.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Judy Batulan said the project in Malobago village is a joint effort of the local government unit, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and village officials.

“The construction of the school building will serve as a stepping stone for a better education that will lead to a brighter future for the learner of Malobago. This will allow mothers to work without bringing their children to their farms since there is a safe place for them to learn,” Batulan said in a statement Wednesday.

In a separate statement, Lt. Col. Luzelito Betinol, the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion commander, said the project fulfills the villagers’ wish to improve their lives.

“This proves that our government is here to meet the needs of communities through the whole-of-nation approach. I encourage residents to stop supporting the terrorist group so that we can achieve the peace we have been longing for,” Betinol said.

The project began in mid-2022 and was completed on April 14.
Motiong, a fourth-class town with a population of more than 15,000, is a recipient of six other ongoing SBDP projects.

The other projects in the municipality are in the villages of San Andres, Barayong, Beri, Canvais, Sarao, and Sto Niño.

Malobago is one of the 200 villages identified as SBDP recipients last year in five provinces in the Eastern Visayas region.

Each village got a PHP4 million outlay for the construction of farm-to-market roads, health stations, rural electrification, school buildings, or water and sanitation system.

Projects have been identified by residents during the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP), a convergence mechanism for local governments in the village, to identify issues and needed government interventions.

Recipient communities were previously influenced by the communist New People’s Army, according to the DILG.

The SBDP, a hallmark program of NTF-ELCAC, brings progress to former conflict-prone communities.

The NTF-ELCAC, created under Executive Order 70 issued on Dec. 4, 2018, is tasked to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.” (PNA)