Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib and Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy visited Barangay Kapatagan of Laak town on Saturday, following several reports of rebel harassments on the boundary area of the two provinces.
During a stakeholder’s forum for the upcoming Brigada Eskwela activity of the Department of Education in Barangay Kapatagan, the two governors condemned the atrocities of the New People’s Army. They also called on members of the community to help the government end the decades-old insurgency.
1Lt. Amadeuz Vj Celestial, the civil-military operations officer of the 60th IB, said the Guerrilla Front 33 was suspected to be responsible for the alleged attempted murder of Kapatagan’s Punong Barangay, Rudilita Constantino, and the murder of her house help, Neneng Tamonan, last Feb. 10.
He also accused the rebels of being behind the murder of Janel Felisidario last Feb. 22.
Celestial said the attacks were connected to Barangay Kapatagan’s recent move to help the Community Support Program of the Army, particularly the plan to set up a patrol base in the village.
Prior to the visit, the two governors sat down with the officials of 1001st Brigade, 60th IB, and the police commanders of Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte for a briefing on the current security situation.
Addressing residents of Barangay Kapatagan, Uy said, “We are here today to show you and let you know how serious we are in providing a solution to this [insurgency] problem. But how can we resolve this if the people themselves are not wholeheartedly taking part in our effort? You are a part of this government as much as we are.”
“We need everyone to make an effort. We need everyone to cooperate. I have no doubts with our current administration’s commitment to this since we know how much peace means to development,” he added.
Jubahib, meanwhile, said that they initiated free housing for Lumads, as well as a half-way house for former rebels. He also facilitated the surrender of 342 former NPA rebels.
“Let us not waste this opportunity to get out of our poverty, for our kids to go to school, to relieve our communities of conflicts,” he said. “Let us unite. Let us not fight the country. Let us not fight our fellow Filipinos.”
Also present during the forum were local officials from Laak headed by Vice Mayor Mark Anthony Libuangan, Mayor Arnel Sitoy of San Isidro, Davao del Norte; Davao de Oro PNP Chief P/Col. Roberto Alanas; Davao del Norte PNP Chief P/Col. Ranie Hachuela; 1001st Infantry Brigade commander Colonel John Oberio; and 60th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento.
“Our governors coming in tandem to directly confront the CPP-NPA’s atrocities in our conflict-affected areas is a great manifestation of the government’s sincerity in immediately putting an end to the local communist armed conflict in the country,” Oberio said.