Surigao Lumad thankful for government services in the community

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BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur – Despite the false accusations of anti-government groups in Lianga towards government troops’ presence in the Lumad community of barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur residents express their gratitude for the basic services provided by the Local Government Unit of Lianga, the 3RD Special Forces (ARROWHEAD) Battalion (3SFBn), Philippine Red Cross and other volunteer groups who participated in the recent medical and dental mission held last September 8, 2019.

Since the start of the Community Support Program (CSP) last August, gradual developmental changes in the said sitio took place through the partnership of the LGU of Lianga, AFP, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Lumad community of KM 9. The following are the current peace and development efforts; electricity was installed by the Surigao del Sur Electric Cooperative (SURSECO), 544th Engineer “Pioneer” Battalion heavy equipment aid the barangay to rehabilitate and improve some portions of the farm-to-market roads from KM9 to Lianga proper; Medical and Dental Mission was conducted to address the health issues of the community.

Recently, the Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC), one of Provincial Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (PTF-ELCAC’s) lines of effort, led by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Surigao del Sur launched skills, livelihood and enterprise development programs in conflict affected areas of San Miguel and Lanuza. The municipality of Lianga, particularly the Lumad community in Diatagon is one of the identified beneficiaries of PRLEC’s next phase of development program implementation. This will uplift and empower the Lumad community to become resilient against any form of Communist NPA Terrorists’ (CNTs’) issue-based deception and exploitation.

Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 3SFBn calls for all Lumad communities in Surigao del Sur to unite regardless of tribe, religion, beliefs and organization to attain lasting peace and development in the country as a whole.

“Regardless of our cultural diversity we must unite to attain genuine peace because we are all Filipinos, the same Filipino blood runs in our veins. The armed struggle of the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) and bakwit are not the solutions, they create ” LTC Baybayan said.

“I call on the members of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), the religious leaders and their allies who plan on staging bakwit to join us in our quest towards ending insurgency. Let’s do this together if you are sincerely longing for peace just like we do. If you yearn for peace, then prove it by condemning the acts of the Communist NPA Terrorists,” he added.

Further, he urged religious groups to become a channel in promoting peace, cooperation and reconciliation by bridging the lumad community, the anti-government groups and the government to promote synergy and convergence in peacefully addressing the root causes of conflict through the Whole-of-Nation approach.

The KM 9 Lumad community’s way life run normal as they are at ease with the government troops’ presence because they now feel more secured from any form of terroristic threats from the CNTs.

The majority of KM 9 Lumad residents said that they are tired of participating in bakwit because it does not resolve any of their problems, this only makes it worse.