DAVAO ORIENTAL — More or less 800 members of various People’s Organizations in the province of Davao Oriental have received assistance in a two-day distribution of aid courtesy of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and the Convergence Team comprised of various government agencies on May 20-21.
The delivery of service is part of the government’s effort to extend assistance to vulnerable sectors comprised of Indigenous Peoples (IPs), former rebels, and farmers.
Graced by high-ranking officials including 10th Infantry Division Commander Major General Ernesto Torres and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Spokesperson Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, the ceremony was also an avenue for peace builders to empower people against the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), and gauge their support for the government’s efforts to end the decades-long insurgency problem.
“There are only two words here to end the 52-year problem with insurgency – good governance,” NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson USec. Badoy said in her message, quoting what President Rodrigo Duterte believes to be the core of Executive Order 70 or Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
She added that the government nor the NTF-ELCAC cannot achieve the desired sustainable peace alone, but it is the people’s force that can win the fight against insurgency.
Moreover, the Convergence Team not only circled on addressing the problem with insurgency, but also sought to help the identified recipients who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the agencies who came to personally hand over various forms of aid to the beneficiaries were:
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which gave cash assistance under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program;
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which handed separate grant for affected workers under the Tulong Panghanabuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Program;
The Department of Agriculture which turned over agro-products and offered Kapital access to young farmers;
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) which promised to provide assistance to the members of the IP Community, and promote the interest and well-being of the IPs with due regard to their beliefs, customs, and institutions; and
The Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) which pledged to provide scholarship and trainings for livelihood, cooperative, capacity building, fiscal management, and marketability of products.
For its part, the Office of Senator Christoper Lawrence “Bong” Go, which initiated the activity, distributed grocery packs, medicines, vitamins, masks and face shields; and other forms of assistance such as bicycles, computer tablets, and shoes to selected beneficiaries.
“The world has changed due to COVID-19. We need to help each other. We can hurdle this. Do not be afraid to get vaccines, fear the virus instead,” Sen. Go said in his message presented through an Audio-Visual Presentation.
He added that COVID-19 kills and that the vaccines are the only means to bring back normalcy to both the people’s lives and the country’s economy.
Davao Oriental Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang, represented by First District Board Member Nelson R. Dayanghirang, Jr., lauded Sen. Go and the Convergence Team for the continuing support of the province’s endeavors to improve the lives of its constituents.
Present in the first wave of distribution held at the 66th Infantry Battalion Covered Court were DavOr 2nd District Representative Joel Mayo Almario, 701st Brigade Commander Col. Oliver Maquiling, 66th Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Julius Munar, and Davao Oriental Police Provincial Office Provincial Director Pol. Col. Efren Orlina.
The second wave of assistance took place at the 67th Infantry Battalion Covered Court and was graced by DA Assistant Secretary Christine Evangelista, CDA USec Joseph B. Encabo, DTI Asst. Sec. Nino Contreras, Boston Mayor Rowell Rosit, Provincial Administrator Art Benjie Bulaong, 67th IB Commander Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, and representatives from the Office of Sen. Bong Go and from various national agencies. | By Shaye Dacles