Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Army Assists NCIP in Reaching Out Mamanwa Community

PLACER, Surigao del Norte - The 901st Infantry (Fight’Em) Brigade through the 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion assisted the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) in the conduct of inter-agency visit to the Mamanwa tribe in Sitio Zapanta, Barangay Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

The said activity was graced by Secretary Allen A Capuyan, Chairman of NCIP and at the same time the Executive Director of National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The visit was initiated to gain first-hand information about the pressing issues and concerns of the tribal communities within CADT 134 specifically their problems on ancestral domain management, livelihood and food security programs, COVID-19 pandemic health response, and human rights violations being perpetrated by the communist NPA terrorists.

Present during the said event were Hon. Aristotle E. Montante, Mayor of Kitcharao, Col. George L. Banzon, Commander of 901st Brigade, P/Col Martin M Gamba, Agusan Norte Police Provincial Director, Lt. Col. Isagani O Criste, Battalion Commander 29IB, and representatives from Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Education and Department of Interior and Local Government.

In his message, Secretary Capuyan said that it was the 121st tribal community to be visited by NCIP in their 65 days continuous travel in Mindanao. He stated that the visit aims to show to the Indigenous People (IP) that the government is present in their community specifically they aim to create a venue for other agencies to know the actual situation of the IP in their respective tribal communities.

He also added that NCIP is the main agency that caters IP concern, they want to deepen the understanding of IP about their rights as stated in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act or IPRA Law which aims to "Recognize, Protect and Promote the Rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous People."

He urged the Mamanwa community to be united and act as one so that they will have a formidable foundation in facing the challenges and resilient against the threats and exploitation of interest groups. 

In addition, he also encouraged the IP to support the ‘whole of nation’ approach of the government in its fight against insurgency. He explained to the tribal community how the communist terrorist group exploits the vulnerabilities of IP for their communist agenda. He said that through the NTF ELCAC, the government is converging the efforts of different agencies to effectively address the issues and concerns, particularly, the prevailing conditions of IP communities that are susceptible to CTG exploitation.

On the other hand, he also encouraged the tribal leaders and its members to be prudent and productive in the utilization of ancestral domains so that they can contribute to the efforts of the local and national governments in addressing the ill effects of a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, Col. George L Banzon, Brigade Commander, lauded the efforts of the NCIP and other agencies for reaching out to the tribal communities in the far-flung areas. He said that the event was very timely because concerned agencies will have the first-hand knowledge about the interventions needed for the tribal community.

“Zapanta Valley was known to many as the hotbed for the insurgency. For years, this place was associated with war and violence. This is the right time for us to make this place worth living for our Mamanwa brothers and sisters” he said.

He also gave an assurance that the 901st Brigade will continue to support the programs of NCIP and NTF ELCAC so that IP communities will be strengthened and the fruition of peace efforts will also be enjoyed by every IP member.

As the program ends, the tribal leaders expressed their heartfelt thanks for giving importance to their community. They said that the significant event will bring new hope to their people who have been deprived of a peaceful and progressive community.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 901st Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, PA

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