LORETO, Agusan Del Sur- A week into the on-going focused military operations of the 10th Infantry (AGILA) Division in Agusan del Sur—which resulted to the killing of several CPP-NPA terrorists and the recovery of numerous firearms, bombs, and subversive documents—the Local Government of Loreto initiated the conduct of community dialogues or “pulong-pulongsa barangay” in the conflict-affected areas and vulnerable adjacent communities of said town starting Saturday.
The activity was initiated to assist the affected communities cope with the consequences of the war brought about by the CPP-NPA’s terroristic and criminal atrocities in the area.
Leading the community dialogues herself is Loreto town Mayor, Lorife “Aping” Otaza-Magadan, who rallied her constituency to support and allow her administration to make true its promise of building a peaceful, orderly, and insurgency-free “Shine, Loreto! Bibo, Loreto!”
The consecutive community dialogues were held over the weekend in Sitio Moto, BrgyPoblacion and BrgyMagaud with some 700 residents in attendance.
The attendees raised their various issues particularly on the continuing harassment of CPP-NPA terrorists within their communities. Meanwhile, Mayor Magadan and the other LGU department heads present answered concerns pertaining to government services, programs, and projects.
Also taking part in the dialogues were Vice Mayor Randolph Plaza Jr. and members of Loreto’s SangguniangBayan; military officials; and some civil sector leaders.
1001st Infantry Brigade Commander, Colonel John Oberio,who is also the ground commander of the ongoing military operations here, expressed his confidence of the troops’ capability to “finish the war.” Oberio, however, also said that while the full might of the armed forces is at their disposal, “we can always choose to do this the peaceful way.”
In support, Lt. Col. Ronald Sarmiento of the 60th Infantry Battalion reassured the residents that while the military is determined to push through with its operations and defeat the armed CPP-NPA terrorists, those who would like to return to the folds of law only need to surface and voluntarily submit themselves to the authority.
“We have our BalikLoob Assistance Centers everywhere, you can surrender directly to the mayor, or you can ask your relatives to contact any one of us to facilitate your safe return. Avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program now. We guarantee your protection and we will help you go back to your families and resume your normal lives as soon as possible,” Sarmiento added.
Some tribal leaders and former rebels who benefitted from the government’s support in ridding of the CPP-NPA’s influence in their respective communities also gave their testimonies during the dialogues.
A few days earlier, BrgyBinucayan, another red-flagged area of the same town, declared the CPP-NPA-NDF and its front organizations “Persona Non Grata” in their barangay.