Residents of two remote villages in Marabut, Samar have identified four projects meant to address decades-long insurgency in vulnerable communities.
In a dialogue on November 20, 2020, residents of Tagalag and Tinabanan villages listed road access, safe and potable water supply, farm irrigation system, and land ownership as priority projects.
These projects will be carried out under the government’s retooled community support program (RCSP), an initiative that seeks to identify issues and concerns in remote communities vulnerable to the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Although there is no NPA presence, these villages are considered susceptible because their location is along the path of rebels crossing Samar and Eastern Samar provinces.
“With this approach, communities in far-flung areas could see that the government is serious in ending insurgency problems because they can see that all agencies are working together unlike before that it is only through a military solution,” Marabut Mayor Percival Ortillo said.
“To make insurgency irrelevant, we have to provide answers and solutions to what the people need,” he added.
Tagalag has more than 800 residents while Tinabanan has more than 1,200 dwellers. Some villagers attend dialogue at the town hall complex.
They also received food packs and hygiene kits from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), which also turned over two generator sets to the two villages.
Joining the dialogue are key officials from the Philippine Army, OCD, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, a representative from the Office of the President, and Philippine Information Agency.
“Now you can see that all agencies of the government and the local government units are working together in this campaign. We can never achieve our goal without your help, the community,” Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III said.
The development initiative is aligned with the national government’s goal to end the communist terrorist group by 2022.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)