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MAASIN CITY, June 4 (PIA) -- The legislative measure that seeks to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach in ending the decades-old communist insurgency in the country may be calendared after the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month.

This was expressed by Cong. Roger Mercado, principal author of the said house move, in an impromptu press briefing Wednesday at his residence in this city.

He said he would make a follow up on this matter after the President shall have delivered his annual address, his sixth and final SONA, on the last Monday of July, this year the date is July 26.

The lone district lawmaker of the province earlier confirmed he had filed a bill to make permanent in the government’s agenda matrix the implementation of Task Force - End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) and its corresponding counterpart down to the regional and local government levels.

Last month, during a virtual press conference Panindugan anchored by Olive Tiu, PIA regional director, it was Col. Perfecto Peñaredondo of 8ID who revealed that Cong. Mercado initiated efforts in the lower house of Congress to enact a law integrating TF-ELCAC functions.

With Executive Order 70 as basis for now since 2018, the task force is actually a convergence of several national line agencies including the private sector whose primary goal is to bring various services to vulnerable, distant, and isolated barangays, to let people feel and see how government works.

“We should not be fighting each other. Ever since I have advocated peace and development for our people in the countrysides,” Cong. Mercado emphasized.

On attempts to defund the budget of TF-ELCAC, Cong. Mercado was confident it will not prosper.

Meanwhile, two house bills with local application were approved on second reading, and these are HB 9534 and HB 9536, both establishing fish ports in Saint Bernard and Barangay Ichon, Macrohon, respectively, according to Diego Credo, the congressman’s info officer, in a message sent to local media. (ldl/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)