Marihatag, Agusan del Sur – The Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Surigao del Sur Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict led by the Provincial Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) conducted ,last November 28, a dialogue to prepare the residents and IP Community of Barangay Mahaba, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur for the all-out implementation of Executive Order No. 70 by next year in Andap Valley Complex. Following dialogues to other identified Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) will be scheduled within this month.
With this activity, the residents of conflict-affected communities would become aware of the government’s peace and development efforts towards ending insurgency. Barangay Mahaba is one of the gateways of the Andap Valley Complex, a traditional route of the CNTs along with the sitios of Barangay Diatagon.
The dialogue includes the presentation of the community’s poverty, livelihood and employment-related issues raised by the community through the Community Support Program (CSP) conducted by the 7th Special Forces” Spartans” Company of the 3SFBn. CSP is a mechanism of the EO 70 to identify basic and social services delivery issues used by the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to agitate, organize and mobilize the tribes to advance their terroristic activities in the hinterlands.
Present in the dialogue are support agencies from Department of Agriculture, Provincial Tourism Office, 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn), Surigao Provincial Police Office, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA), Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Food Authority, Marihatag LGU led by Mayor Justine Marc L. Pelenio and the Chief of Staff of the Office of Congressman Prospero “Butch” A. Pichay, Jr., Surigao’s 1st District representative.
Initial livelihood support will provide the community abaca seedlings to help in increase their farm output production. Falcata and coffee farming will also be provided by the concerned agencies. Aside from farming, TESDA and PHILFIDA will provide livelihood skills training to further increase their productivity to make them more resilient.
On other concerns, the community requested the DepEd to speed-up the process to begin the construction IP Government schools so that they can transfer and abandon the alleged CNT-affiliated schools of Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV). DepEd representative, Danilo Alcantara, said that the IP communities in Andap Valley Complex were included in their Last Mile School Program which will facilitate the construction of complete school facilities which will provide a better quality education for the IPs.
According to a rebel surrenderee, MAPASU, a left-leaning organization and an alleged front organization of CNTs, with their underground contacts in some LGUs continuously hampers the implementation of EO 70 because the CNTs will lose their mass base making it difficult to sustain their food supplies and makes them more easily detected by the government forces.
The Department of Interior and Local Government continuously reminds elected and appointed government officials on Republic Act 10168 known as “Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 prohibiting any political, moral and financial support to the Communist rebels. If elected officials are found guilty, penalties and sanctions will be imposed as prescribed by law.
Meanwhile, PRLEC is one of the most active clusters among the 12 clusters line of efforts of the Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.