TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Jan. 14 (PIA) -- Aimed to prepare the community for the implementation of several government livelihood programs of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) in Surigao del Sur, the conflict-affected Indigenous Peoples (IP) Community formed a women's organization named, Km9 Simuwao Kabudangan Association (KSKA) on January 12, 2020, an army official confirmed.
Photo credit: 3rd Special Forces Battalion, Phil. Army
According to 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) Civil-Military Operations Officer Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, 40 women of Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9) in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur have joined the women's organization.
"This is one of the IP community's steps to become a resilient and empowered to any conflict," said Lt. Punsalan.
Based on the report, the Community Support Program (CSP) teams composed of the 9th Special Forces Company, 3SFBn, 41st Civil-Military Operations Company, Lianga Police Community Relations, IP Tribal Council of Lianga and the Barangay Local Government Unit of barangay Diatagon facilitated the drafting of their constitution and by-laws. Their next activities will include leadership and livelihood training.
In the previous years, Kilometer 9 IPs were exploited by the alleged Communist NPA Terrorist (CNTs) linked anti-government and militant groups through the conduct of "Taktikang Bakwit," a military report said.
However, according to Lt. Punsalan, through the local government unit (LGU)-led effort to win the peace through the Task Force ELCAC and CSP, an environment of genuine peace and reconciliation between the government to include the military and the IP Community was fostered.
On the previous dialogue conducted, some of the IPs were still doubtful, but with tangible results of sustainable development and people empowerment by the government such as the rehabilitation of farm to market roads, installation of electricity lines, and the delivery of various government basic services, the IPs found a real ally against the CNTs who exploited them.
"We now realized that the only way to attain the tribe's preservation and development is to make ourselves resilient. We don't need to rely always on the government. Instead, we have to strive to have a better life," said alias "Inday," a mother from KM9.
The Bayan Muna and Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa mga Sumusunod (MAPASU) attempted to stop the government's implementation of Executive Order No. 70 and demanded to pull-out the military from the community but the provincial government and the IP community remained steadfast to their commitment to end insurgency and turned down their demand immediately.
Meanwhile, the IP council mulled for the establishment of a detachment that will serve as an inter-agency facility to address criminality, insurgency and environment exploitation in Kilometer 9 to further boost their quest to have a resilient community. (with a report from 3rd SF Battalion CMO/PIA-Surigao del Sur)