MARAMAG, Bukidnon (PIA)—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-10 recently delivered food packs to 104 families of former rebels (FRs) who were sheltered at a temporary halfway house at 88th Infantry “Maringal” Battalion (88IB), Philippine Army Headquarters in Maramag, Bukidnon.
The former rebels who belong to Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of Manobo tribe in southern Bukidnon, particularly from Kasilaan and Salumayag subvillages in Barangay Halapitan, San Fernando town thanked the government for the food packs containing some kilos of rice, sachets of coffee, and cans of corned beef and sardines.
“Nagpasalamat kami sa DSWD, militar, ug gobyerno kay bisan ila kaming kontra kaniadto, nagasalig gihapon sila kanamo. Daghang salamat sa wala’y hunong nga suporta ug tabang nga gihatag sa gobyerno. (We thank the DSWD, the military, and the government because although we were once their opponents, they still trust us. We thank them for tirelessly supporting us),” Randy Engyan, one of the FRs said.
In response to the FR’s comforting message in a simple ceremony during the relief distribution, DSWD Regional Director Mari-Flor Dollaga Libang said, “Bringing the government closer to the people is the main objective of this activity. We are here, together with our soldiers, to help you. All we want is for you to have a peaceful and productive community. We are hoping for your support and cooperation for us to attain our goals.”
Lt. Col. Franklin F. Fabic, 88IB commanding officer, also announced that the said FR’s community was already cleared of communist-terrorists’ influence since last year through the 88IB’s Community Support Program (CSP).
Currently, the 88IB deploys a Mobile Community Support Sustainment Team (MCSST) to sustain the government’s efforts in ensuring that there will never be a resurgence of NPA terrorists in the area.
“We, in collaboration with partner agencies, desire to alleviate the well-being of our FRs and their families. We cannot do this without the support coming from our government agencies and local government units. To RD Libang of DSWD Region 10, we are very thankful for personally coming here to extend your assistance especially to our FRs who came from IP communities. This activity will make a big difference in the perception of IPs towards our government efforts in attaining sustainable peace and development in the province of Bukidnon,” Fabic said.
Colonel Ferdinand T. Barandon, 403rd Brigade commander, likewise, thanked the DSWD for carving out a time to attend to the needs of the FRs.
“We thank our DSWD Region 10 for being our close partner in delivering government services in conflict-affected areas. Reaching out to our IP communities here in Southern Bukidnon is indeed helpful in achieving sustainable peace and productive society in the province,” Barandon said. (CMO, 88IB, 403Bde, 4ID, PA/PIA Bukidnon)