Davao del Norte’s provincial government and the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion (60IB) have turned over more than PHP100,000 in financial assistance to an Indigenous People’s (IP) farmer’s association in San Isidro town, a military official said Thursday. Lt. Col. Merrill Sumalinog, the 60IB commanding officer, said the Nagkahiusang Mag-uumang Lumad of Sitio Binuhi, a people’s organization (PO) in Barangay Datu Balong of the municipality, received the assistance Wednesday from the provincial government and the 1001st Infantry Brigade. ‘We, as a unit, are continuously working with the local government units with the different line government agencies to ensure that the issues in the community are promptly addressed to protect the IPs from exploitation and deception of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and its allies,’ Sumalinog said in a statement. The project aims to provide a sustainable livelihood to the IP farmers of Sitio Binuhi to alleviate their living conditions. Sumalinog assured that the 60IB focuses on the preservation of the insurgency-free status of the communities within its area of operations. He urged the PO beneficiary to manage their funds accordingly to achieve their collective goals to sustain the association members and their community. ‘The successful turnover of the cash assistance through the intensified partnership among stakeholders is proof that the government promotes responsive governance in delivering the needs of the grassroots, especially to our established PO,’ Sumalinog said. Jemuel Melmida, the executive assistant of provincial Governor Edwin Jubahib, assured the locals that the government would continue delivering its socio-economic development programs, especially in former conflict-affected communities. In response, Melesio Magalasin, the PO’s chairperson, lauded the government for the assistance they received. ‘The assistance is a great help for us, especially for our livelihood. Thank you so as this will surely uplift the lives of our fellow IPs,’ he said in the vernacular.
Source: Philippines News Agency