LUPON, DAVAO ORIENTAL – In a bid to end the decades-long local Communist armed conflict here, the provincial government recently launched its innovative anti-insurgency campaign in Sitio Banhawan, Barangay Marayag in the Municipality of Lupon, one of the province’s top ten priority barangays for peace and development projects.
Dubbed as “Oplan Marayag”, the initiative, which is anchored to the national government’s Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) through the President’s Executive Order 70, formally marks the start of the implementation of the series of long-term interventions that the government is set to pour into the village.
Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, who led the official launch, said that the program is an expression of the government’s sincerity to make the province more peaceful and more developed. “Insurgency only halts our province’s economic development,” he said, citing that the province’s potentials on tourism and investments are dangerously at risk amidst the threats of unrest and violence perpetrated by the Communist-Terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA).
He urged the residents of Barangay Marayag – which was once a hotbed of the armed conflict and once a beehive of NPA mass supporters, to unite and to work together with the government for meaningful programs.
Governor Dayanghirang said that Barangay Marayag has an immense potential to become a major supplier of vegetables and livestock as it is an agricultural area that is strategically located near the City of Mati whose demand for the supply of vegetables and livestock remains vast amidst the booming tourism despite the COVID-19 pandemic. “Davao Oriental is a tourist destination and it needs enough supply of food to feed tourists. However, no visitors would come to us if our province is not peaceful,” said the Governor.
“I hope that you take advantage of this opportunity. All these developments can easily be achieved if you help the government by withdrawing support from the NPA and convince those whom you know are still involved in the movement to surrender to the government. Many opportunities await them,” said Governor Dayanghirang.
As part of the immediate interventions, government offices and agencies offered services and distributed goods to the residents. The Provincial Agriculture Office distributed seedlings, vegetable seeds, and other farm inputs for the farmers. The Provincial Veterinarian’s Office, on the other hand, distributed live native chicken to selected livestock raisers. Both offices, prior to the program launch already conducted orientation and trainings to local farmers.
Meanwhile, the Philhealth distributed free health insurance to 887 residents. The Department of Agrarian Reform led the distribution of the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) covering 8 hectares of land to 8 beneficiaries. The Department of Information and Communication Technology turned over three computer sets with e-learning content to the village.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), on the other hand, announced that it is set to conduct trainings on masonry NC II and Shield Metal Arc Welding NC I complete with allowances and starter kits. The agency is also set to request a portable welding machine from its central office for the trainees.
Free medical checkup and distribution of assistive devices to Persons with Disabilities were facilitated by the Provincial Capitol Clinic.
Meanwhile, long before the launching of the Oplan Maragatas, the village has already received scores of government projects that improved the lives of the villagers. Among them are infrastructure projects, particularly potable water system projects worth more than P6 million distributed to its different puroks.
Furthermore, the Provincial Engineer’s Office announced the set construction of the 40 kilometers farm-to-market road project which will also serve as a circumferential road traversing to the rest of the villages of Lupon, particularly to Sitio Logdeck in Barangay Maragatas. An ambitious project, this road will cut travel time and provide ease for farmers and residents in transporting people and goods.
Moreover, the Provincial Governor’s Office announced the National Housing Authority’s free housing project for Mandaya residents living in areas with a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).
Other set of programs that the village will expect in the coming weeks is the Law Enforcement and Territorial Defense Orientation and Community Responders Course through the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office together with its security counterparts from the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection.
The Philippine National Police, aside from providing security and giving free hot meals and slippers to children, announced scores of programs that are also being implemented in the barangay. This includes the Revitalized Pulis sa Barangay (RPSB) and “Bagani” or peacekeeping team while the Philippine Army’s Community Development Team continues to help the villagers by serving as their bridge to the government.
Amidst all these interventions, Governor Dayanghirang appealed to the residents to give their full support to the government’s efforts in sowing peace and development in their community.
Barangay Marayag is the second barangay in the province where the ELCAC program was launched. A month ago, the same program was launched in Barangay Maragatas in Lupon town where scores of projects have also been implemented. Text and Photos by Karen Lou Deloso