23IB Helps Launch Barangay Development Program in IP Community in AgNor

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion, in partnership with the Provincial Task Force Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) in Agusan del Norte, the NTF-ELCAC and the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) in the provinces launched the Barangay Development Program (BDP) in Sitio Minbahandi, Barangay Camagong, Nasipit town on April 13, 2021.

The launching of the BDP, dubbed as “Busilak Enterprise Village”, was conducted in time with the conduct of the two-day Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) immersion held in the same sitio last April 12 to 13. During the activity, the “CADT OG-KAAGPAS” or CADT Express was also launched within the BUSILAK Enterprise Village.

Minbahandi is an Indigenous People (IP) community inhabited by the Higaonon tribe. The sitio is situated within the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) No. 252. Sitio MInbahandi is also considered a priority area in Nasipit as the place is a soft target of the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) and the IP residents in the area have suffered from armed conflicts in the last five (5) decades.

The launching of the BDP in Minbahandi was started with a Bigula Ritual conducted by the tribal leaders of Higaonon tribe. It was then followed by the cutting of the ribbon led by Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) who also chairs the PRLEC at the national level.

Sec. Lapeña was joined during the activity by Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale B. Corvera, Nasipit Mayor Enrico R. Corvera, TESDA Agusan del Norte Director Rey M. Cueva, TESDA Caraga Regional Director Tarhata S. Mapandi, Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, the Commander, 402nd Infantry Brigade, Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office (ADNPPO) director Col. Martin M. Gamba, and 23IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo.

The activity was also graced by the tribal leaders in Agusan del Norte and the other line agencies of the government.

The establishment of the Busilak Enterprise Village aims to provide concrete and sustainable jobs and enterprise opportunities for the IPs in the three (3) priority sitios in Barangay Camagong, identified as Sitios Hinandayan, Minbahandi, and Salaysayon.

During the activity, Datu Talagsaon Jimbo Mansiguinda, the tribal leader of Sitio Minbahandi thanked the government for addressing the socio-economic condition of the Higaonon communities in the area.

“Kinasingkasing ang akong pagpasalamat sa gobyerno tungod kay aduna silay dakong tabang alang sa among tribu. Naa ang tanan ahensya sa gobyerno nitabang sa katawhan og buhong na kami sa tabang sa gobyerno. Nanghinaut usab kami nga duna pay dugang nga mga tabang ilabina sa mga kasikbit namo nga mga sitio,” Datu Talagsaon said.

Dir. Cueva encouraged the residents of Sitio Minbahandi to do their best to improve their livelihood.

“We have properly chosen the programs that are suitable in your community. You are now equipped with skills that can possibly change your lives forever. Make use of it and utilize it for the improvement of your livelihood. This is a great opportunity given to you by our government because a person can be employed and can build their own business even without undergoing or graduating in the formal education as long as they were equipped with the skills that are in-demand,” Dir. Cueva said.

Sec. Lapeña urged the residents to cooperate and use the skills they acquired through the different skills training provided by TESDA.

“We in TESDA initiated programs that will be benefited by the people especially the IPs living in hinter areas to improve their livelihood. We will deliver free skills training and provide great opportunities to the less fortunate individuals to help them get away from poverty. I hope that you will use the skills you have acquired and manage the Busilak Enterprise Village properly in order for you to have a sustainable livelihood,” Sec Lapeña said.

Lt. Col. Paulo expressed optimism the insurgency will end very soon as the residents of Sitio Minbahandi already felt the presence of the government.

“We’ve been facing insurgency for over fifty-two (52) years and the government have discovered the root causes and has provided a solution to it. It is only when all the families in the hinter areas have something to eat at their tables daily that the insurgency will end. The CNTs can no longer use poverty issues and absence of government services in their propagandas because all the government agencies are now doing their part to help the less fortunate ones,” Paulo said.

He also hoped that residents in Sitio Minbahandi and the nearby IP communities will no longer be deceived and recruited by the CNTs.

“Let us reject the CNT and their false ideology so that from now on, this community and the residents will live peacefully,” Paulo said.

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