23IB Joins 2-day Immersion Program in Agnor IP Community

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion joined the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Agusan del Norte in the conduct of a two-day immersion cum Agus Serbisyo activities in the far-flung Sitio of Minbahandi, Barangay Camagong in the town of Nasipit last April 12-13, 2021.

The activity was also participated by the different line agencies of the government together with the Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office (ADNPPO), the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte and the Indigenous People (IP) leaders in the area.

Sitio Minbahandi is among the remote IP communities in Nasipit town situated inside the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) No. 252. The place is inhabited by the Higaonon tribe.

The two-day activity was graced by Gov. Dale B. Corvera, Nasipit Mayor Enrico R. Corvera, Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, the commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of 23IB, and Datu Eddie “Bawang” Ampiyawan, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Agusan del Norte.

The activity was started with a ritual that was officiated by the tribal leaders and was followed by the conduct of a medical mission that benefited hundreds of IP families in the said community. Outreach services were also facilitated that include the distribution of food packs, used clothing, mosquito nets, wheelchairs, crutches, reading eye glasses, a portable sound system, water drums, and flashlights.

The IP families also received vegetable seeds and seedlings of fruits and non-fruit-bearing trees and abaca. Piglets, egg-laying chickens, and tilapia fingerlings were also dispersed to the IP farmers in the area.

A ‘kasalan ng bayan” was also facilitated during the activity that benefited a number of unmarried couples in the area.

Datu Nobentahan Ruben Mandahinog, the Municipal Tribal Chieftain in Nasipit, expressed gratitude over the full support that the government has provided to the IP families in Minbahandi.

“Nalipay ko pag ayo nga naka abot ang mga tag-as nga opisyales sa gobyerno inubanan sa mga serbisyo alang sa among tribu. Dako ang kalipay sa tribung Higaonon nga sakop sa CADT 252 tungod kay mao kini ang pinaka unang higayon nga muanhi ug diri matulog mismo sa Sitio and mga opisyales aron mapaabot ang mga programa ug mabati namo ang sinseridad sa gobyerno nga tabangan kami aron mahaw-as sa kalisod. Nanghinaot kami nga magpadayon pa ang inyong mga programa ug kalihukan taliwala sa ka lisod sa dalan ug sa kalayo sa among lugar,” Datu Nobentahan said.

During the activity, Gov. Corvera vowed to prioritize Sitio Minbahandi for the implementation of various programs and projects of the government.

“The provincial government of Agusan del Norte, together with all the government agencies, are here in your sitio because we are all dedicated to serve the people. We want you to feel that you have a government who sees your needs, who is always willing to serve you by heartily bringing the basic services. The presence of your true government is here, and one piece of evidence is the school that was built to provide education to the children and youth who dreamt to be successful citizens in the near future, who will positively make changes in this sitio in return. We really come here because we want to experience how difficult transportation is, and to see the real situation of the people. I was challenged and I will find ways to provide funds for the improvement of the farm to market road for your convenience,” Gov. Corvera said.

He also emphasized the importance of improving the roads and other infrastructures in Sitio Minbahandi to attract investors that will provide more opportunities for the people.

“This is not the last time that we will come here, instead, this is just the beginning because after this immersion, we will still be coming here and will implement many programs,” Gov. Corvera said.

Mayor Corvera, for his part, thanked the provincial government for prioritizing Sitio Minbahandi despite its distance and inaccessibility.

“I am glad that the provincial government of Agusan del Norte visited this sitio because I want them to know the real situation of the people here, including the neighboring areas. The people here really need government assistance. Problems such as limitated funds often caused the delay of the implementation of projects here,” Mayor Corvera said.

The mayor also lauded the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 that institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach to end the conflicts caused by the terrorists New People’s Army (NPA).

In his message, Brig. Gen. Licudine urged the residents in Sitio Minbahandi to cooperate with the government to put an end to the atrocities and other terroristic activities of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs).

“I know the real situation of the people in this Sitio. The only agency that can enter here long ago was the army because of its inaccessibility and the fact that this was once a guerrilla zone. We want to emphasize that the security, peace and development of a particular community depend upon the people. We encourage everyone to cooperate in the peace initiatives of the government. We already felt the relative peace and order, let us take care of it. You are the greatest defense your community needs,” Licudine said.

He also asked the people not to be deceived by the sweet promises of the CNTs as the group has provided nothing for the development in the area.

“Only the true government with real concern for the people will bring services even in far-flung areas. You can report to us the presence of the CNTs so we can take appropriate action. We will make peace a continuous process to facilitate the development interventions of the government here in your sitio,” Licudine said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Paulo assured the residents of Sitio Minbahandi of the continued services of the 23IB soldiers to maintain peace and order situation in the area and the neighboring IP communities.

“We are glad that the tribal leaders and the residents are now helping us end insurgency. Only when everyone exerts effort and help each other can great accomplishments be visible. You can rely on us, we are always available all the time and ready to extend necessary help. It will be our pleasure to help secure and protect the whole CADT 252, to include all the Higaonon tribe and their ancestral domains,” Paulo said.

The other government agencies who joined the two-day activity include 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).

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