The Municipal Government of Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippine Army, and various government agencies through the Municipal Task force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) initiated the Send-Off Ceremony for Road projects Wednesday, 30 September 2020 held in Brgy. Datu Tutukan, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur.
The Philippine Army units involved were 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion (53IB), 547th and 551st Engineer Battalion, 102nd Infantry Brigade, and 1st Infantry Division.
According to Dumingag Municipal Engineer Edgardo Egos, the 35-kilometer road project consists of a 7-kilometer road rehabilitation in Brgy. Datu Tutukan and a 28.858-kilometer road opening from Brgy. Labangon, Dumingag to Brgy. Sigacad, Bayog, ZDS.
Army’s 547th Engineer Battalion Commanding Officer Col. Emerito Pineda said the government is serious in addressing the needs of the society, and the Army Engineers will continue to render services to far-flung areas.
Further, Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas encouraged the NPAs still in the hinterlands to surrender, return to the folds of Law, and avail of the various government programs intended for them.
Among of these government programs are the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which intends to help the former rebels (FRs) in their transition to mainstream society; livelihood programs under DSWD, TESDA, DTI, and Department of Agriculture; and greening programs from DENR.
To solve the water scarcity problem in the barangay, Department of Agriculture Region 9 Executive Director Rad Donn Cedeño also mentioned in his message that DA will help construct a water system for the benefit of the residents.
DENR Region 9 Executive Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez also said the DENR identifies ELCAC barangays to render government programs and services to help the people.
Meanwhile, Army’s 1st Infantry Division’s Assistant Division Commander Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan thanked the troops for making the event a venue of understanding.
“Peace cannot be achieved by force; it can only be achieved through understanding — such is synonymous to good governance,” said Brig. Gen. Gaerlan.
In local dialect, Datu Tutukan Barangay Chairperson Hon. Merlita Galcon said she is happy that after so many years, help and government’s program and services have finally arrived in their barangay.
Dumingag mayor and MTF-ELCAC Chairperson Hon. Joan Abejuela in her message thanked the Army and all partner stakeholders in behalf of the people of Datu Tutukan and Dumingag as a whole.
“I am truly grateful to the Army and to these government agencies for their commitment to serve the people and solve this communist armed conflict,” said Hon. Abejuela.
The ELCAC farm-to-market road project, in line with Executive Order 70 signed by President Duterte, is also a part of Dumingag town’s counterinsurgency plan dubbed as “Oplan Amuma” which was launched on August this year.