Operation Christmas Drop program in the Conflict-affected areas receive Bundles of Joy

Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City- The 4th Infantry (DIAMOND) Division, Philippine Army through efforts of the Local Government Units (LGUs) and Non-Government Organization (NGOs). In response to the needs in the Typhoon Vicky victims, conducted a gift-giving program in the several under privileged Indigenous People (IP) communities in the 4ID Area of Operation  on December 20-25, 2020.

The activity is part of the program of MGen Andres C Centino, Commander of 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, dubbed as “Christmas Drop” which aims to distribute food packs, school supplies and toys to give joy and hope, and spread love to the communities during this Christmas Season. The program will also show that the government truly cares for the IP communities particularly those situated in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.

It is also one of the Diamond Troopers’ ways of celebrating the 85th Founding Anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the theme: “Pinag-isang lakas na maaasahan ng Pilipino.”

More than 3000 members of the Surigoanon kamayo, Manobo, Higaonon tribe in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions directly benefited from the said gift-giving activities. The gift packages contain hygiene kits, slippers, toys, clothes, and food packs that were distributed to each of the household.

Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB wished that the gifts would make their Christmas meaningful. “This Christmas season is the best time for us to open our hearts and share our blessings, especially to those who are less fortunate. Seeing the happy faces of the children together with their parents is priceless. We encourage our brothers and sisters who are still in the armed groups to return to the folds of the law and be with your families. Your families are waiting for your return and hoping to spend this Christmas with you,” Lt. Col. Canatoy added.

Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, Commanding Officer, 26IB expressed his gratitude to all the stakeholders involved in the said activity. “My greatest gratitude for the continuous support and involvement of our stakeholders, everything was made possible with the generous support of our partners, rest assured that our unit will remain active and ready to work for peace, security and development.”, he said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of 23rd IB also thanked the DA for spending their time with the FRs. “Children are the hope of our nation. They must be given much care, be guided properly and be given attention. We are glad that the DA chose to spend their time helping the FRs and letting the children feel the true essence of Christmas,” Paulo said.

Lt. Col. Jezreel J Diagmel, Commanding Officer, 36IB said that the gift packs are minimal compared to the essential needs of our constituent. They need care and importance so that they must enjoy and forget all the worries and surpass all the challenges they are facing this time of pandemic. The activity was made possible thru the untiring support and participation of our stakeholders, rest assured that we will continue our duties and responsibilities particularly in attaining peace and sustainable development to our constituents. “Once again, I am calling everyone to take part in this journey. Let us end this futile armed struggle, let us join hands and work in unison and converge our efforts and resources for us to achieve the peace that we are longing for,” he added

Meanwhile, “This Christmas season the best Christmas for your children. Returning to the folds of the law would be the best gift ever for your families and if you desire to leave the organization, we are always ready to help you to return to the mainstream society,” MGen Centino said.

MGen Centino added that it’s a simple way of extending the meaning of Christmas to the people by spreading the love through gift-giving. “It’s not the value of the gift that matters but how much love we put in giving.” He is also reaching out to the CPP-NPA terrorist (CNTs) members, telling them that there is still hope for them. “I am calling on the remaining CNTs in Regions 10 and Caraga to grab the opportunity to avail of the ECLIP, live peacefully with your family and share the love for Christmas”, Centino ended.

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