MISAMIS ORIENTAL (PIA)—Even with the threats of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 plaguing the region, the 58th Infantry “Dimalulupig” Battalion (58IB) continues its efforts in attaining sustainable long-lasting peace through the Whole-of-Nation Approach as it balances peace and development initiatives alongside COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
With the launching of the Claveria Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Sitio Kalhaan, April 2021, the 58 IB reiterated its firm commitment in continuing their campaign of peace as they worked alongside with various government line agencies, local government representatives, and private stakeholders in bringing the Indigenous People (IP) residents of Kalhaan back to their homes after being driven away by Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).
“Upon the continuous efforts of the 58IB, atong nakita nga kaning mga tawhana naningahanglan gyud ug tabang kay for so long ato gyud ni na-overlook. Kay tungod pud sa kalayo, ang among battalion together with the 402nd Brigade among nahuna-hunaan nga para mapakita namo nga ang gobyerno kay sinsero nga ang peace atong ibalik sila sa ilang lugar,” said LtCol. Ricky Canatoy, commanding officer 58IB, during the CORDS-X Podcast with Communications Sec. Martin Andanar, July 17.
(Upon the continuous efforts of the 58IB, we saw that these people really needed our help because for so long, we have overlooked them. Because they live in a far-flung area, our battalion together with the 402nd Brigade agreed that for us to show how sincere the government is in bringing peace back to the area)
With the strong support of the local heads of the province and the Department of Agriculture (DA)-10, the 58 IB now works alongside the Higaonon IP community of Sitio Kalhaan to develop and rehabilitate their area. This targets to help the area prosper again after the scourge of the CTGs through infrastructure, security, and agricultural development.
As part of the government’s efforts in minimizing bloodshed among CTG-NPA engagements, Canatoy said they are prioritizing the promotion of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) in their area to entice CTG members to start a new life free from violence and struggle.
“As of the moment, almost around 80 percent sa ila ang nakadawat na sa mga gihatag sa ECLIP, naa’y uban nakadawat ug almost a million tungod sa firearms remuneration. Sa pagkakaron, daghan na ta former rebels nga natabangan,” he said.
(As of the moment, almost around 80 percent of them have received their ECLIP benefits, some of them have even received almost a million pesos because of firearms remuneration. We have helped so many former rebels)
Through the ECLIP, Canatoy said former rebels can be reintegrated back to the community alongside their families, and start over with their new, normal lives through various financial benefits, livelihood training, and access to government services.
Further, the 58 IB commander also said they are focusing on ending resource generation from the CTGs by empowering and protecting private stakeholders that are targets for CTG exploitation.
“Hopefully by the grace of God, magpadayon ang atong kampanya diri sa Misamis Oriental nga dili na sila makadaot ug makahimo ug tactical offensive and instead of magpadayon sa armadong pagkigbisog, makipagtinabangay nalang pinaagi sa Whole-of-Nation Approach sa atong gobyerno,” he shared.
(we can continue our campaign here in Misamis Oriental so they would not be able to cause chaos and create tactical offensive and instead of continuous armed conflict, may everyone help each other through the government’s Whole-of-Nation Approach). (VPSB/PIA-10)