Digitalization to Have Key Role in Development of NPA-Cleared Areas Under Lacson Presidency

CATARMAN, Northern Samar – Digitalization and a data-driven approach will be prioritized in the government’s efforts to bring development to areas cleared of the New People’s Army (NPA), under the presidency of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson.

Lacson said the government cannot afford to implement poorly the development of cleared barangays, lest disgruntled residents join the NPAs again.

“Napakaganda ng concept, ang objective ng NTF-ELCAC. Ang problema, implementation. Kailangan may barangay development program pero hindi na-implement. Kakapiraso lang (The NTF-ELCAC had a very good concept and objective. But the problem was in the implementation. It should have carried out the development projects in barangays cleared of NPAs but it did not quite do so),” Lacson said at a press conference here Sunday.

Related: Ping: Digitalization, May Malaking Papel sa Pagsasaayos ng NPA-Cleared Areas

He cited Senate records indicating that only 26 out of more than 2,000 NTF-ELCAC projects – or just one percent – had been completed so far.

This is aside from the questionable distribution of funds to barangays, including the non-allocation of development funds to barangays that need them, and vice-versa.

Lacson said that with digitalization and a data-driven approach, the government can move faster in allocating the needed resources to the barangays needing development projects.

“So again, dapat laging data-driven, oras na gagalaw ang executive branch. Dapat naka base sa data at bilisan ang pag-process. Kaya kasama sa programa namin digitalization para mabilis ang pagproseso ng gobyerno. Napakaraming problema pagdating sa implementation (Again, we need a data-driven approach so government can be more responsive. That’s why digitalization is part of our program. We have seen so many problems in the implementation of government programs),” he said.

For his part, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the strategy is to implement properly and distribute what the government has promised.

“It’s really a matter of implementation. There is much to be desired as far as implementation and execution is concerned,” Sotto said, adding he and Lacson need the chance to properly implement the laws they passed in Congress.

“Tingin namin kung kami bigyan ng pagkakataon mag-implement, ma-implement namin nang mabilis at tama (If Sen. Lacson and I have the chance to implement the laws, we can do it right),” Sotto added.

Lacson is running for President under Partido Reporma while Sotto, his vice presidential candidate, is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition. They arrived here Sunday with Partido Reporma senatorial bets Minguita Padilla, Monsour del Rosario, and Guillermo Eleazar.