BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The persistent threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) did not hamper the conduct of the series of “Serbisyo Caravan” to the villages in Las Nieves town in Agusan del Norte through the efforts of the local government unit (LGU), the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion, and the other line agencies of the government under the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).
The implementation of RCSP started on September 15, 2020, and was followed on succeeding dates until September 24, 2020 in five (5) different barangays in Las Nieves that are once considered affected by armed conflicts due to the presence of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs).
Recently, these five barangays, namely Casiklan, Durian, Ibuan, Lingayao and Maningalao were already cleared by the 23rd IB, but the residents in the areas need actual interventions through the provision of government programs and services as recommended by the RCSP team that bridged the situation of the residents to the LGU and line agencies and led to the conduct of the five-day service caravan.
Las Nieves town Mayor Avelina S. Rosales was among those who led the service caravan that benefited around 3,000 households from the five barangays. They received free services to include medical and dental, and the circumcision and haircut for the children. Residents also had the chance to make direct consultations with the different line agencies of the government especially concerning birth registration, legal matters and counseling among mothers and women. Food packs were also served to the residents while children received their slippers during the caravan.
“Ang inyong lokal nga panggamhanan dili moundang sa pag serbesyo ug kanunay andam nga mutabang ug musuporta sa mga panginanglanon sa mga Las Nievesnon. Bisan pa naay pandenmya nga gi atubang nato karon dili gyod magpa pugong ang inyong lokal nga panggamhanan sa pag serbesyo kaninyo,” Mayor Rosales said.
She also urged the residents in said barangays to support the different initiatives and interventions of the government to fight the pandemic and address the security and peace concerns to prevent the entry and recruitment of the CNTs in the area.
“Kitang tanan responsable sa insurhensiya nga gina atubang nato karon. Mao mag tinabangay kita aron mawala na ang Terroristang CPP-NPA nga maoy naghatag ug kagubot sa atong lugar. Magtinabangay ug magkahiusa kita aron makab-ot nato ang dugay na nato nga gipangandoy nga kalinaw sa atong nasud,” Rosales said.
Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion also extended his full support to the five-day activity as he joined the troopers and other line agencies during the activity.
He also recognized the untiring support of the local government of Las Nieves to the efforts of the Philippine Army in the different campaigns the led to the clearing of the five barangays from the influence and infestation of the CNTs and turning the said areas into Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) in the province.
“We cannot win this war against our common enemy, the terrorist NPAs if we will not work hand in hand. I know that it is hard, but at this time we need to help and support each other. We cannot achieve progress unless we can accept the challenges,” Paulo said.
He also emphasized that with the issuance of Executive Order No. 70 that institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach to defeat the CNTs, all government agencies were also directed to deliver free social services especially to the far-flung areas.
“As one, we need to address the primary issues of the people for them to feel the true government interventions for the development of their lives. These issues and concerns have been used and manipulated by the CNTs, in wrong perspectives and directions, just to advance their ideology and destructive agenda,” Paulo said.