On April 13, 2020, the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) Basic Services Cluster successfully conducted a virtual meeting. Presided by DILG Caraga Regional Director Lilibeth A. Famacion, thevirtual meeting was primarily held to harmonize the assistance programs granted by different national government agencies to the people/communities to cushion the impact of loss of income and livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also served as a venue to thresh out and address issues affecting the implementation of the programs. An equally important agenda tackled was strategies to improve government assistance program messaging.

Present during the meeting were Regional Directors MitaChuchi Lim of DSWD,Chona Mantilla of DOLE, AsharyBanto of TESDA, Dr. Jose Llacuna of DOH, PBGen Joselito Esquivel Jr. of the PNP, BGen Maurito L. Licudine,and OIC Rebecca Atega of DA;Assistant Regional Directors FryanAbkilan of PIA and Gay Tidalgo of DTI.

Highlight of the meeting was the presentation by Agency on assistance programs for COVID-19 Situation starting with the DSWD on the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), followed by DOLE with COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for the formal sector and TUPAD "Barangay Ko, BahayKo" Program for the informal sector. TESDA informed on the production of personal protective equipment (PPEs) through their TESDA administrative schools and the production of baked good and  food packs for frontliners while DA shared on their distribution of vegetable seeds and planting materials to different the sectors and “Plant, Plant, Plant” program or Agri 4Ps of the department which aims to increase the country’s food adequacy level during the emergency situation due to COVID-19 pandemic. The other member agencies present gave updates on their continuous efforts in the fight against COVID19.

One ofthe important agreement reached was for the PIA to come up with one messaging template especially on the government assistance programs and to mobilize the Information Officers in the LGUs as multipliers to ensure that uniform information will be cascaded to the communities and to prevent confusion and misinformation.

RD Famacion acknowledged the significant efforts of the member agencies and closed the meeting on this note, “Let us all continue to work together to combat this crisis, as public servants, now more than ever, our duty to the nation and the citizenry is of utmost priority.”

By LGOO V Emmylou P. Burias

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