ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat – A government livelihood program has reinforced the belief of an indigenous peoples (IP) community in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat that communist terrorist groups (CTGs) cannot give them anything, except empty promises.
On Thursday, a team from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12. (DA-12) traveled six hours to the mountain village to extend aid to the IP community through the Barangay Extension Service Operation Outreach Program.
Two-hundred farmer-members of the Aromanon Manobo community of Barangay Domolol received PHP1.2-million worth of livelihood assistance that included farm implements such as tillers, wheelbarrows, shovels, spades, rakes, and small motor machines for irrigation.
DA-12 also gave fertilizers, pesticides, and rice and corns seeds.
Lumawan Dawig, speaking on behalf of the IPs’ Palimbang Sangguniang Bayan, said they are now convinced that the government also exists for them.
“This is the first time that agricultural livelihood projects from the government were given to our IP community,” Dawig said during the ceremony.
Joseph Diza, village chair of Barangay Domolol, said IPs will no longer believe the rebels who said the government is not helping them.
“For the reason that the DA reached out to us through livelihood packages, the IPs will continue to support the government’s peace and development programs that will, in the end, benefit all of us,” he said.
DA-12 Director Arlan Mangelen said there will be more assistance soon under the “Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran Para sa Kababayang Katutubo” or 4Ks Program for the development of indigenous communities.
“Our mandate is to help all farmers increase their yield through government intervention that is why we are here,” he told the beneficiaries in the vernacular.
In a statement on Friday, Palimbang Mayor Joenime Kapina said the DA programs will help combat insurgency in the area, particularly in IP communities that have been a constant target by CTGs for recruitment.
He said New People’s Army (NPA) rebels dupe IP members with the promise of a better future than what the government has to offer.
“The IP communities in Palimbang, however, have realized that the NPAs only lied and gave them empty promises and they have regarded them persona non grata,” Kapina said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)