The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) upheld its commitment to provide the necessary support for Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Tribal Leaders’ peace and security efforts in a meeting held on May 19, 2021, at 53IB Headquarters, Camp Maj. David Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.
The IPMR Tribal Leaders were accompanied by National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Regional Office IX OIC-Regional Director Mercilyn Hatad who has expressed support to the 53IB’s Project Good Life for FRs (Friends Rescued) since most of the FRs beneficiaries are from Subanen tribes.
The IPMR Tribal Leaders who attended the meeting are the following: Felipe Sanlao, San Miguel; Sanchez Bayanbayan, Lapuyan; Gilbert Alangas, Guipos; and Ceciline Bitara, Katipuan.53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera was represented by Capt. Michael, Bumidang, 1Lt. Maverick Mira, and 2Lt. Rhomalene Custodio during the meeting.
“I am happy that IPs are being catered by the 53IB in Project Good Life in line with ELCAC. The project is very helpful for Frs because they are able to learn by educating them for their livelihood. I hope that the project will also be implemented in other areas to reach more IPs,” Lapuyan IPMR Tribal Leader Sanchez Bayanbayan said.
“We are happy that IPs now have the privilege to be included in 53IB’s program. The presence of the government is being felt with increased support for tribal people in remote areas,” San Miguel IPMR Tribal Leader Felipe Sanlao said.
“We now see that the critical areas with peace and security concerns are being provided assistance by the government. The tribal people in my area are now cooperating with the 53IB and PNP to immediately report any illegal activities,” Guipos IPMR Tribal Leader Gilbert Alangas said.
“With the government’s efforts in maintaining peace and cooperation of tribal people, we are now enjoying a more peaceful environment in our area,” Katipunan IPMR Tribal Leader Ceciline Bitara said.
“The Tribal Leaders can be rest assured that the 53IB will always be here to provide the necessary support to maintain peace and order in their communities,” Capt. Bumidang said.
This activity is part of the 53IB’s drive to pursue transformation to become a world class Army that is a source of national pride by 2028 in line with the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR).