The results of the latest PUBLiCUS survey suggest that a majority of Filipinos support the continuation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
NTF-ELCAC was established by former president Rodrigo Duterte under Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018, to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach to communist counterinsurgency “as a government policy for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace.”
56 percent of respondents to the PAHAYAG 2022 Second Quarter Survey, conducted by PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. between June 16 to 22, 2022, said they approve or strongly approve of the ‘continuation of the NTF-ELCAC’. 13 percent said they disapprove or strongly disapprove of the NTF-ELCAC’s continuation, while almost one-third or 31 percent said they neither approve nor disapprove.
“Continuation of the NTF-ELCAC under the Marcos Jr. administration was supported by a comfortable majority of our respondents. However, it should be noted that approval of the NTF-ELCAC’s continuation was lower compared to four other Duterte administration programs tested on our survey,” said Atty. Aureli Sinsuat, Executive Director of PUBLiCUS.
The total approval ratings for the continuation of other Duterte flagship programs tested on the survey were: 79 percent for Build, Build Build; 73 percent for the war on illegal drugs; 68 percent for independent foreign policy; and 64 percent for the BARMM transition.
“In recent months, NTF-ELCAC has received more negative publicity than the other Duterte flagship programs tested due to issues surrounding red-tagging. This may have had an impact on the NTF-ELCAC’s approval rating,” Sinsuat said.
NSA Carlos “game changer” for NTF-ELCAC
Meanwhile, Sinsuat also said the appointment of Dr. Clarita Carlos as National Security Adviser is a “game changer” for the NTF-ELCAC. EO 70 provides that the National Security Adviser shall serve as vice-chair of NTF-ELCAC under the President, who chairs the task force.
“Notably, NSA Carlos has publicly questioned the use of red-tagging as a means to combat the communist insurgency. In this context, it is clear that the appointment of Dr. Carlos as National Security Adviser is a game changer because the NTF-ELCAC will be much less likely to engage in red-tagging under her leadership,” Sinsuat said.
Sinsuat also noted that Carlos’ plan to focus on ‘human security’ as a means to combat the root causes of insurgency is in line with the whole-of-nation approach institutionalized by EO 70.
“The provisions of EO 70 reveal that the NTF-ELCAC was created to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to combating the communist insurgency. As provided by the EO itself, the whole-of-nation approach addresses the root causes of insurgency by improving the delivery of basic services and social development packages to conflict-affected communities while facilitating societal inclusivity and broader cross-sectoral participation in pursuit of the country’s peace agenda,” Sinsuat said.
“Essentially, the NTF-ELCAC was designed to be a conciliatory, consensus building policy coordination body. It is not an intelligence agency designed to identify communist sympathizers. It will be interesting to observe whether the NTF-ELCAC will operate more in line with its original design under the Marcos Jr. administration,” he added.
The 1,500 registered Filipino voters who participated in the PAHAYAG 2022 Second Quarter Survey were randomly sampled by PureSpectrum, a US-based panel marketplace with multinational presence, from its national panel of more than 200,000 Filipinos. The sample-wide margin of error is +/- 3%.
Note from PureSpectrum: “Samples provided by PureSpectrum are not affiliated with any bias or political party. All opinions voiced in the interpretation and analyses of the data are those of the writer and/or project sponsor.”