LIANGA, Surigao Del Sur (SDS) – Not a single indigenous peoples (IP) here was left behind in the distribution of relief goods intended for them amid the coronavirus crisis.
This was due mainly to the concerted efforts of the local government unit chiefs of Lianga and Marihatag towns in mayors Novelita M. Sarmen and Justine Marc Pelenio, respectively; TESDA Surigao Del Sur director Rey M. Cueva and members of the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion who all lent a helping hand in reaching out to conflict-affected IP communities of Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), Diatagon, Lianga and Sitio Lucnodon, Mahaba of Marihatag Surigao del Sur with food packs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Sitio Simuwao and Sitio Lucnodon IP communities have risen against the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) and its alleged front group, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) who attempted to restage their usual mass evacuation (Taktikang Bakwit) scheme to hamper the Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict efforts.
“The communities in Km 9 and Lucnodon stood their ground against the CNTs and we will not leave them behind during these trying times,” the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) member agencies said.
The CNTs even launched an attack on the community injuring three (3) civilians last February 21 with the intent to put the blame on the military to request their pull-out, but the enlightened civilians and the community did not take the bait.
Instead, they strongly requested the presence of the military and a detachment to protect them from future CNT attacks.
In this time of pandemic, the IPs was assured by the government to provide them with basic and necessary aid they need.
Even before the pandemic, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 13 have already provided food packs and food for work good for a month last March.
The IP leaders led by Hawudon Jumar Bucales expressed their gratitude on the 3rd relief operations conducted by the government in the IP conflict-affected communities and told that if only Bayan Muna representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat would have the same mindset like that of the ELCAC member agencies, IP communities in Surigao del Sur would already be free from insurgency and poverty.
“Eufemia is homegrown and already in congress but is selective in helping IPs. She prioritizes MAPASU members alone and leaves behind those who are against their radical ideology,” Bucales, said.
Datu Constancio Duhac, Lianga Tribal chieftain, said that with the entire budget they have in congress, Eufemia and her party list did not even attempt to put up any government IP schools, farm-to-market roads and did not even aid any of the IPs in this time of crisis.
“It would be good to see if Eufemia Cullamat would work together with the ELCAC members to put an end to the IPs’ ordeals caused by Communist NPA Terrorists,” Duhac, ended.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Allan D Hambala AFP, 401st Infantry Brigade Commander lauds the PRLEC member agencies for their continuous delivery of basic services.
“We have to remember that we do not only address the COVID-19 virus but also the Communist NPA Terrorist virus that corrupted our society for years. We have to put an end to both viruses,” Brigadier General Hambala, added.