COTABATO CITY – North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco has pledged to give her all-out support for the military’s diplomatic campaign against the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province.
“We are bringing basic government services to the people in communities formerly influenced by communist rebels, and we are happy serving them,” Catamco said in a statement on Wednesday.
She leads the “Serbisyo Caravan”, which was in Makilala town on Wednesday.
The caravan visits remote areas where many villagers say it was their first time to feel government presence in their communities.
It has served several villages in the towns of Arakan, Magpet, and Makilala, all in North Cotabato, bringing to the people services of various government agencies, such as those in health and agriculture, as well as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“Many applied for birth certificates and other government-issued documents through the PSA,” Catamco said.
Part of the caravan is the presentation of Army programs that aim to help former rebels.
Catamco on Wednesday received a security briefing from the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade, led by its commander, Col. Potenciano Camba, such as implementing the Community Focus Program (CFP) in the province.
The CFP is an outreach program where soldiers peacefully convince the populace that it is better to support the military and the government than use violence.
“Insurgency has destroyed many lives, many children, and families and it must end,” Camba said as he sought Catamco’s support to end the armed struggle of the rebels. “Through your help for the AFP, I believe we will succeed and win this war without firing a gun.”
Catamco pledged the provincial government’s support for all programs that the Army would undertake in the province.
“We will make this ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) effective,” she said, adding that the program is intended, foremost, for the next generation. (PNA)