Davao del Norte – Indigenous People (IP) chieftains in the far-flung villages of Talaingod vowed to support government-initiated projects and to chase away elements of the New People’s Army (NPA) who dare to venture into their communities.
Twelve tribal leaders raised their hands and shouted “Kaya! (we can)” in unison, when Governor Edwin “Kuya Gob” Jubahib asked them if they are ready to fight off the rebels and persuade families and relatives still in the mountains to come down.
The chieftains made the assurance during the second DavNor Adlaw sa Kalinaw Information and Service Caravan held at the far-flung Sitio Km. 31, Brgy. Dagohoy, Talaingod on April 29, 2021.
The provincial government again collaborated with national government agencies and non-government organizations in giving services and assistance to 2,000 IPs from the sitios of Km. 31, Badyatan Uno, Badyatan Dos, Pongpong, Dangulog, Km 30, Pinaloy, Km 25, Tibukag, and Dumondong, all in Barangay Dagohoy.
Tribal Chief Datu Rofo Anlay assured the IPs are ready to cooperate with the government in its peace and development efforts.
“Andam mi motabang sa gobyerno ug manalipud sa among komunidad (We are ready to help the government and defend our communities),” he said.
In supporting President Duterte’s whole-of nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict, Jubahib has since espoused that bringing the government closer to the people, particularly in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) is the most effective way in ending local insurgency.
“Your true government is now providing you the basic services and opportunities to improve your lot. The armed struggle is not the solution to your problems. You will achieve genuine transformation through your own diligence and all-out support of the government,” he said in the vernacular.
He assured that their true government is already working to address their need for new roads, livelihoods, additional schools, health centers, tribal halls, electricity, water systems, and solar dryers, among other requirements.
During the program, Ka Lazaru, a former teacher of the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc., apologized to his fellow IPs for successfully convincing many of them to join the NPA.
“Pasaylo-a ko ninyo…Gitudluan namo ang inyong mga anak paunsa masuko ug mogunit og armas para suklan ang gobyerno (I am sorry. We taught your children how to hate and take arms against the government),” he said, as he revealed the abuses, lies and abuses of the NPAs, including the “terroristic” activities of the Salugpungan schools and the UCCP-Haran Center.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)-Eastern Mindanao Area Manager Oliver Binansilan, 1003rd IB Commander BGen. Nolasco Mempin, 56th IB Commander Col. Norman Valdez, Davao del Norte Police Provincial Office (DNPPO) Chief Col. Ranie Hachuela also took turns in asking the IPs to repay their debt of gratitude to the flurry of government programs, projects and services now being poured into their villages.
Services in the peace caravan include free medical check-up, medicines, food packs, relief distribution, livelihood training, free hair cut, circumcision, story-telling, police clearance and other services, employment facilitation, birth registration, product development, traditional games, sports clinic and youth consultation, among others.
Other officials who graced the occasion include Board Member Roger Laguna, Mayor Jonie Libayao, Provincial Administrator Engr. Josie Jean Rabanoz and various department heads, and PENRO Victor Villones, TESDA Provincial Director
Arlyn Bandong, representatives from the DILG, DTI, DepEd, DSWD and DOLE, as well as the Rotary Club of Tagum North and the Kiwanis Club International.