CIVIL society organizations (CSOs) with community-level projects addressing violent extremism will be the recipients of a grant of around $3 million said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), a non-profit Swiss foundation, recently partnered with the Philippine government for its campaign on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

“One of the priorities of DILG is the protection of peace and safety of Filipino communities through the prevention of violent extremism. Now having GCERF as a partner towards the achievement of this goal further empowers our locales in addressing this issue,” he was quoted as saying in a press statement.

Mr. Año said that the funding from GCERF will focus on areas in the whole country that are vulnerable to violent extremism.

The DILG said that the CSOs’ projects should target in-school and out-of-school youth; youth support networks; and social media users vulnerable to radicalization.

In the same press statement, DILG Assistant Secretary Alexander L. Macario noted that the CSOS should propose projects “that will build tolerance, where violent extremists recruit the marginalized; community agency, where violent extremists exploit governance challenges; positive social and economic alternatives to what violent extremist groups claim to offer; and critical thinking and life skills as protection against violent extremism recruitment.”

“We are very excited about the prospects of this partnership with GCERF as this will also complement the efforts of the Philippine government to end the 50-year local communist armed conflict in the country,” said Mr. Macario.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has earlier created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, comprised of different government agencies, which adopts a whole-of-nation approach in ending the communist insurgency in the country. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras