Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City- The 4th Infantry (DIAMOND) Division, Philippine Army through 58th Infantry “Dimalulupig” Battalion conducted a gift-giving program in several under privileged Indigenous People (IP) communities in Misamis Oriental on December 20-25, 2020.
The activity is part of the program of MGen Andres C Centino, Commander of 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, dubbed as “Christmas Drop” which aims to distribute food packs, school supplies and toys to give joy and hope, and spread love to the communities during this Christmas Season. The program will also show that the government truly cares for the IP communities particularly those situated ingeographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in Northern Mindanao and Caragaregions.
It is also one of the Diamond Troopers’ ways of celebrating the 85th Founding Anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the theme: “Pinag-isang lakas na maaasahan ng Pilipino. ”More than 500 members of the Higaonon tribe in Sitio Impadiding, Sitio Langusahan, Sitio Mindalawat, Sitio Malunsagay, and Sitio Minsalawagan, all of Barangay Minalwang, Claveria, Misamis Oriental directly benefited from the said gift-giving activities.
The gift packages contain hygiene kits, slippers, toys, clothes, and food packs that were distributed to each of the household.“Nagpasalamat ako ug dako sa mga kasundaluhan kay wala nila pasagdi kaming mga Lumad, gibutangan kami ug military Patrol Base arun maprotektaran batok sa mga NPA ug gihatagan pa kami ug sayo nga pinaskuhan,” said Jimmy Beo, Barangay Councilorof Brgy Minalwang.
(We are very thankful to the soldiers for not leaving us, IPs, rather they established Patrol Base within our area just to protect us from the NPAs. Also, we would like to thank them for the early Christmas gifts we received.) Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB, wished that the gifts would make their Christmas meaningful.
“This Christmas season is the best time for us to open our hearts and share our blessings, especially to the less fortunate. Seeing the happy faces of the children together with their parents is priceless. We encourage our brothers and sisters who are still in the armed groups to return to the folds of the law and be with your families. Your families are waiting for your return and hoping to spend this Christmas with you,” Lt. Col. Canatoy said. “Make this Christmas season the best Christmas for your children.
Returning to the folds of the law would be the best gift ever for your families and if you desire to leave the organization, we are always ready to help you to return to the mainstream society,”Lt. Col. Canatoy said.
MGen Centino said that it's a simple way of extending the meaning of Christmas to the people by spreading the love through gift-giving. "It's not the value of the gift that matters but how much love we put in giving." He is also reaching out to the CPP-NPA terrorist (CNTs) members, telling them that there is still hope for them.
“I am calling on the remaining CNTs in Regions 10 and Caraga to grab the opportunity to avail of the ECLIP and return to the folds of the law, live peacefully with your family and share the love for Christmas”, Centino ended.
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