Sunday, November 8, 2020

Army, village leaders conduct peace dialogue in an Agnor remote community

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte
– The Army’s 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion and the members of the Barangay Council of Kamagong in Nasipit town, Agusan del Norte recently joined hands in the conduct of peace dialogue and consultation in Sitio Hinandayan, one of the remote communities in the said barangay last November 5, 2020.

The dialogue and consultation which was joined by the residents in the area were aimed to address the issues and concerns of the residents in Sitio Hinandayan, particularly on peace and order. It also served as a venue where barangay officials and residents were informed on their responsibilities and roles in promoting peace and development in their community in relation to the implementation of Executive Order 70 or the Whole of Nation Approach to end the local communist armed conflict.

Barangay Kamagong is considered a geographically-isolated and disadvantaged area in the province of Agusan del Norte.

The residents of Sitio Hinandayan were also given the opportunity to speak and ventilate their concerns especially on the security situation of their community. Some residents admitted to being forced to give support to the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) due to fear. 

They said CNT members who encroach in their community usually sow terror as a way of forcing the residents to support the terrorist movement.

The residents added that some were also compelled by the CNT members to contribute money, rice, and other necessities for the terrorist movement. Despite the hardships, they endure, and amidst the impacts of the present pandemic into their situation, residents are constrained to give because of fear.

After expressing their situation the leaders of the said barangay gave hope to the residents of Sitio Hinandayan and encouraged them to move on.

Among those who inspire the residents not to lose hope was Rowena Mandahinog, the Purok president in the village. She urged her neighbors in the community to unite, be vigilant, and stand-up against the CNTs. Mandahinog also asked the parents to protect their children from the influence and recruitment of the CNTs.

"Magtinabangay kita, panahon na para atong isakliway ang walhong grupo, ilabi na kay mi surrender na silang Molo ug Dansoy. Dili na angay mahadlok pa sa NPA,” Mandahinog said.

Molo and Dansoy were once considered prominent CNT members in the area who recently surrendered to the troopers of 23rd IB.

The spirits of the residents were also lifted by Barangay Captain Fernando as he emphasized the seriousness of the government in the pursuit of genuine peace and development.

“Ang paglambo sa usa ka lugar mag sugod kini sa kalinaw. Kung walay kalinaw sa isa ka lugar, walay kalambuan. Mao nga atong suportaran ang atong gobyerno, magkahiusa kita ug magtinabangay para makab-ot na to ang kalinaw nga dugay na natong gipangandoy. Atong protektahan ang atong barangay para dili makasolod ang dautang grupo,” Fernando said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of 23rd IB commended the members of Kamagong barangay council for their untiring pursuit to save the residents of Sitio Hinandayan from the CNTs. He also expressed gladness over the willingness of the residents of Sitio Hinandayan to support the initiatives to make their community peaceful and allow the different development interventions of the government. He also recognized the success of the collaboration of the 23rd IB and the barangay council of Kamagong that made the peace dialogue and consultation successful.

“Ang insurhensiya dila lang problema sa sundalo ug pulis, ang insurhensiya problema natong tanang hilabi na sa mga katawhan nga nagpuyo sa mga lagyo nga purok o sitio sa barangay sama ni ining Sitio Hinandayan. Mao magtinabangay kita para sa kalinaw ug kalambuan sa inyong lugar,” Paulo said.

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

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