Monday, September 7, 2020

Gingoog remote village officials partner with Army-PNP, conducts consultative meet on peace, dev't

BUENAVISTA Agusan del Norte - Members of the Barangay Council of Malinao, a remote village in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, in partnership with the Community Support Program (CSP) of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (IB) and the Community Action (ComAct) team of the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted a one-day “pulong-pulong” or gathering on September 4, 2020.

The CSP and ComAct teams of the 23IB and the PNP are currently on immersion in Malinao and the neighboring barangays in Gingoog City to clear and dismantle the remaining stronghold of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

During the gathering, some residents from the said barangay revealed that it was intimidation and fear which forced them to provide support to the CTG.

The ordeals of the residents on the presence of the CTGs conducting terroristic activities were voiced out when they were asked to freely and voluntarily express their concerns on peace and development in their communities.

Aside from forcing them to provide support, the residents also said that the peace and development efforts of the government are hindered by the presence of the CTG.

They openly uttered the uncertainties they faced, especially on their families and children, as their hardships continue amidst the threats of the presence of the terrorist group.

They also declared that their nightmares are aggravated, especially for those who reside in the remote sitios of Malinao, especially with the current health threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The CTGs, they said, forced them to provide their food as they are now facing difficulties in securing supplies from the town centers due to the lockdowns being imposed by the local authorities.

The residents could only provide food enough for their families during the pandemic but the CTGs would arrive and snatch whatever they get from the relief operations of the government.

They have also exclaimed that they want the terror groups to be driven away from their communities with the support of the local government unit of Gingoog City, the different agencies of the government, the Army and the PNP.

Malinao Barangay Captain Edwin P Oclarit said the pulong-pulong is timely as the residents were given the opportunity to assert their rights to live harmoniously in their communities without the presence of the CNTs.

He also expressed gratitude to the 23IB for the continued support of the initiatives of the barangay council of Malinao, and the residents from the different sitios for attending the gathering and openly voicing out the concerns in their communities.

Likewise, the Punong Barangay urged the people to cut off their ties with the CNTs by supporting the immersion of the 23IB and the PNP and reiterating that it is only by supporting the government that residents and their communities will attain genuine peace and development.

“Tabangan nato ang atong kasundalohan ug kapulisan. Magkahiusa kita aron ang atong barangay ug mga komunidad mamahimong malinawon sama sa ubang mga lugar dinhi sa Misamis Oriental nga karon malinawon na tungod sa ilang panaghiusa ug pagsuporta sa atong gobyerno,” Oclarit said. 

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo urged the residents not to accept and give in to the demands of the CNTs in their villages.

“Financing and giving in to their extortion schemes make you no different from the CNTs and it makes you equally liable for committing terrorism,” Lt. Col. Paulo said.

He emphasized that funds generated by the CNTs are used to wreak havoc through different terroristic activities they do in the different areas in Misamis Oriental.
“Providing the CNTs financial aid will not give you, your families and communities protection from their terroristic acts. In the end, you will also suffer from the hands of these terrorists,” he continued.

The 23IB commander said that lasting peace and development will only be achieved through collaborative efforts not only from the side of the government but also from the communities and its residents.

“Your Army and the government is sincere in making this country free from the insurgency. With your cooperation we can achieve genuine peace and development,” Lt. Col. Paulo added.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Joint Task Force Diamond, PA

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