Agnor PPOC provides free services to IP community

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – Thousands of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) belonging to the Higaonon tribe in CADT 118 and 252 in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte received free social services during the conduct of the two-day Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Immersion activity held at Sitio Bokbokon, Barangay Lawan-lawan last March 9-10, 2021.

During the activity, the PPOC conducted a free “Kasalan ng Bayan”, medical mission and outreach program. The mass graduation of IPs who completed the skills training conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was also facilitated during the activity. After completing the training, the IPs were also granted sustainable livelihood programs from the government.

Through the outreach program, the members of the Higaonon tribe also received toilet bowls, food packs, used clothing, free medicines, and vitamins, while the children were also provided with free circumcision and haircut. The IPs also benefited from the free medical consultation conducted during the activity while the other IP farmers were also provided with Kabir chickens, tilapia fingerlings, vegetable seeds and fruit-bearing seedlings.

The two-day activity was made possible through the convergence of the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte led by Gov. Dale B. Corvera, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Las Nieves headed by Mayor Avelina S Rosales yogether with the tribal leaders in the province through Datu Eddie “Bawang” Ampiyawan, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR).

Top military and police officials in the province, including Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, the commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde), Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB), and Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office (ADNPPO) Director Col. Martin Gamba were also present during the activity.

Government line agencies that provided support to the activity includes the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Datu Ronald S. Manhumosay, the IPMR of CADT118 thanked the government for the free services their community has received through the PPOC activity.

“Dako among pasalamat sa gobyerno kay ila gyod gihatagan ug importansya ang tribung Higaonon pinaagi sa pagdala og hinabang sa among komonidad bisan taliwala sa kalayo niini. Kami maningkamot usab nga maka tabang kaninyo sa pag sumpo sa insurhensiya sa among lugar aron magpadayon na ang kalinaw ug kalambuan, ug amo kining ampingan aron magpabilin ug mapahimuslan kini sa among sumusunod nga kabatan-unan,” Datu Manhumosay said.

In his message during the activity, Gov. Corvera assured the Higaonon tribe of the continued support of the government to their members and communities.

“The Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte will help your community despite the distance and the transportation problem because we want everyone to experience development. Before, the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorists (CNTs) exploited the vulnerabilities of the Higaonons and we can see no development in this community. But now, this community has become very progressive because of the cooperation that the residents showed to the government. The insurgency can no longer stand in this sitio because their tribe no longer supports the CNTs. And with that, we are so glad especially to the tribal leaders who convinced their members to cut their ties from insurgents because it is the stepping stone for a united community,” Corvera said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rosales also emphasized the importance of the implementation of Executive Order Number 70 (EO 70) in the town that provided the much-needed help especially in far-flung communities that are vulnerable to the CNT.

“Because of the implementation of the EO 70 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach, we can easily address the problems of the constituents. We want to help you in any possible way especially in legalizing the registration of your families for the benefit of your children. We hope to help you solve part of your primary issues and concerns,” Rosales said.

Lt. Col. Paulo, in his message, thanked the residents of CADT 118 community for their participation in the said activity.

“Everyone of us, regardless if you are a government employee or a civilian resident, plays a vital role in maintaining peace in our communities. Our government is always here to back you up in solving your problems, but of course, you also need to exert effort to solve it. The efforts of government forces coupled with the support of other government agencies will result in great accomplishments most especially if the constituents will fully support the peace initiatives of the government. We hope that you will continue to support us to end insurgency because, without insurgency, progress, unity, peace and development will be achieved,” Paulo said.

For his part, Brig. Gen. Licudine expressed gladness over the willingness of the residents of Sitio Bokbokon to support the initiatives of the government that will bring peace and development in their communities.

He also recognized the success of the collaboration of the PPOC, the LGU of Las Nieves, the 23IB, PNP, the members of the barangay council of Lawan-lawan and the leaders of the Higaonon tribe.

“Your active participation in this activity manifested your true intention of freeing and saving the far-flung communities from the influence of the CNTs,” Licudine said.

The 402Bde commander also asked the villagers of Sitio Bokbokon to completely cut their ties with the CNT and work with the government to address the peace and security concerns in their community.

“The absence of cooperation and unity among us has worsened the problem of insurgency. Let us work together to support all government initiatives and facilitate the delivery of programs, projects, and services in your communities. Help us by simply providing timely and accurate information on the CNT presence so that we can protect you against their threats. Winning the war against insurgency can only be achieved through combined efforts of the barangay residents and the line agencies of the government,” Licudine said.

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