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BUENAVISTA, Agusan Del Norte – The services of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion of the Army among the children of Former Rebels (FRs) in Agusan del Norte continues to reel on Sunday, August 9, 2020, at their headquarters in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista town by giving free circumcision service.

The 23rd IB Medical Team rendered free circumcision service to at least fourteen (14) children of FRs last Sunday with the support of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Agusan del Norte which provided the surgical supplies for the said activity.

The services of the 23rd IB among the children of the FRs have been rolling for more than a month now. Theses services include the regular feeding program to address the concerns of malnutrition, distribution of learning materials and the conduct of the regular reading program while schools are still close due to the threat of the pandemic.

“The services we render for the children of the FRs are continuing. As soldiers of the Filipino people, we regard this services as part of our social responsibility and contribution to wholly develop the children of FRs who had gone through various difficulties when their parents were still active with the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs),” Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo said.

He added that these services to the children are part of the package that the FRs received upon deciding to return to the folds of the law under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.

“The programs and services of the government to the people is not hampered despite the real threat of the pandemic,” Paulo said.

Furthermore, Paulo expressed that the 23rd IB, in coordination with the other line agencies of the government, will continue to provide a holistic package of benefits and assistance to the FRs and their dependents under the ECLIP program.

One of those who gave an impression to last Sunday’s activity was Alias Lang-lang, an FR and a mother who was thankful for the opportunities she and her children received from the government.

“Dako akong pasalamat sa kasundaluhan sa 23IB ug sa atong gobyerno tungod sa walay pu-as nga pag hatag ug tabang sa amo ug sa among mga anak bisan taliwala niining pandemya nga atong giatubang karong panahuna. Dako kini ug tabang kanamo labi na kay lisodna mag gawas-gaws karon panahona. Padayon gihapon sila sa paghatag ug mga libreng serbisyo para sa kaayuhan dili lang sa amo nga mga FRs kundili lakip na sa tibook katawhan,” Lang-Lang said.

She also emphasized that she had made the right decision of abandoning the hopeless and futile ideology and cause of the CNTs that gave no assurance on the health, education, and future of the children of their fighters.

“We challenge the remnants of CNTs to think wisely. If you really think for the betterment of our nation, fighting against the government is never an answer to that. Lay down your arms, leave the armed struggle, go back to your families and be a productive member of our society,” Paulo said.

He emphasized that the families of the FRs also benefit the programs and services offered by the government once they abandon the armed struggle.

“Look at the lives of our FRs and their families who are now staying at the Masigasig Happy Home. They can attest to the benefits they received from the government and the assurance of better lives that await once they return to their respective communities,” Paulo said.

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