LIANGA, Surigao Del Sur — The Indigenous Peoples (IP) community of conflict-riddled Sitio Simuwao (Km 9) Diatagon this town express their gratitude for government services which according to villagers finally found its way into their barangay.
The villagers were referring to the construction of a breakthrough IP DepEd school they aptly named Sitio Simuwao School of Living Traditions which they said replaces an alleged communist NPA terrorist-linked Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS).
Lianga Mayor Novelita M. Sarmen and Sangguniang Bayan council, members of Lianga IP Tribal Council, SurSur TESDA, Department of Agriculture (DA) CARAGA Region, 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion, 544 Engineer “Pioneer” Battalion and the Lianga PNP graced the simple turnover rites of the historic school building.
Sitio Simuwao had been categorized as Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT)-influenced barangay based on revelations of rebel surrenderees, IP leaders and the community.
It was also revealed that Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), an alleged CNT front group and communist shadow government had long been manipulating the IP community to refuse government’s peace and development intervention to maintain the sitio’s poor status so that they will have the reason to continually blame the government and use social issues to arouse, organize and mobilize agitated IPs in militancy and armed revolution.
“We cannot allow our tribe to suffer further in the hands of these brutal terrorists (CNTs) that is why we requested the military’s presence to advance and protect various government programs for our IP community even if it will cost our lives,” Datu Constancio Duhac, Lianga Tribal Chieftain, said.
“We are thankful for the new hope provided for our children through this school because during our time, we lived in a life where Communist NPA Terrorists would continuously exploit us and even recruit us to be like them using their communist school of thought. We feel liberated after a long time,” Duhac added.
Meanwhile, Hawudon Jumar S. Bucales, Lianga IP Mandatory Representative, said that Sitio Simuwao is just the beginning because there are a lot more sitios in Diatagon that needs to be liberated and cleared from the communist terrorist’s influence.
“This is just the beginning. We have so much to do and we hope that the End of Local Communist Armed Conflict would soon be realized following our recent successes with the Task Force. We will still face a lot of harassments and resistance but with the military and government present, we know we can overcome all trials the tribe is facing,” Bucales, said. (PNA)