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Banana growers in once conflict area thrive after NTF-ELCAC aid

THE 25TH Infantry Batallion visited Barangay Sangab in Maco, Davao de Oro, a former New People’s Army (NPA) affected area that now turned into a 2.25-hectare banana plantation. 

Major Mark Anthony Tito, the 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office chief, said it is now the banana plantation of the people’s organization in a formerly communist terrorist group (CTG) affected area.

The Sangab Energetic Farmer’s Association (SEFA), composed of 138 members, produced Lakatan bananas as a  source of livelihood given to them through the Department of Agriculture’s Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD). 

Likewise, the SEFA already conducted its second harvest with 116 bunches of bananas on May 21, 2023, earning more or less P200,000.00. 

Barangay Sangab also received various projects from the Barangay Development Program (BDP) under the National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). 

Out of the P20 million budget, P5 million went for the construction of the farm-to-market road, P5 million for the water system, P4 million for rural electrification, P3M for the construction of the health center, P3 million for livelihood assistance allotted for cash-for-work program and livelihood assistance for the SEFA. 

In his message, Eugene Cabalida, SEFA chairman, thanked the 10th Infantry Division, the provincial government of Davao De Oro, and the NTF-ELCAC. 

Nabuhat kog vice-chairman sauna sa communal sa NPA, igo lang mi naghagbas, paghuman wala na. So, ang ginabuhat namo karon gina rolling namo ang income para maka provide tag livelihood. Nagapasalamat jud ko sa 10ID kay wala jud silay puas ug wala silay pagpakapoy kay gihatagan jud nila ug priority ang people’s prganization tungod kay mao jud ni ang dapat tutukan kay ang armed (referring to armed group) ato nang napildi (I was once the vice-chairman of the NPA communal. Before, we were just cleaning (referring to the farm), and then that’s it. Now, we use our income to provide a livelihood. I am grateful to 10ID for their tireless efforts in prioritizing the people’s organizations, which should be our focus since we already defeated the armed group),” Cabalida added. 

Cabalida said that if the CTG influenced the people through false promises, there’s no reason the government cannot win the hearts and minds of the people through education. 

Barangay Sangab was once influenced by the CTG. In 2013, the CTG abducted PFC Jesus Tomas in Barangay Elizalde, Maco, and released him in Barangay Sangab. Moreover, other NPA leaders were from the said barangay.


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