Army, villagers renew ties in feast for peace
by Maritess Beņas
Licuan-Baay, Abra (7 November) -- "We respect the decisions of the community particularly on the issue of entry of large scale mining in the area."
Lt. Col. Ignacio Madriaga, Commanding Officer of the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in this upland municipality assured the people in his speech during the launching of the GIBON, the feast for peace in this cultural community.
The GIBON which centered on the theme: "Love, Peace, Order for Unity Towards a Progressive Future", was initiated to assemble all the people of the municipality in the Licuan District which cover the barangays of Poblacion Licuan, Cawayan, Mogao, Dominglay, and Lenneng. Brgy. Captain Cipriano Toralba of Poblacion Licuan hosted the activity.
The GIBON aimed to renew the once tainted relationship between the military and the civilian populace in the area because some members of the community suspected the military in facilitating the entry of large-scale mining in the area.
Madriaga however, explained that the troops came to the area to implement only programs that are initiated by the Philippine Army to help the government alleviate the living condition of the people especially in the remoter areas. He further emphasized that the Army recognizes the importance of the tribal elders in maintaining the integrity of the communities through their own traditions and customs and thus gave his assurance that they will support these by strengthening the people's organizations, tribal council and the community institutions in their quest for self-determination.
The community people responded with much gratitude to Madriaga's pronouncements and reciprocated the same through their performances of "Uggayam". "Ullalim", "Salidummay" and "Pallook".
Prior to the main assembly, the community and the troops of 41st IB stationed at the barangay headed by 1Lt. Wander G. Guway had already done several activities to include tree planting at Mt. Patong where they planted 700 tree-seedlings along the trail going to Mt. Patong. They also had an inter-barangay basketball tournament, and inaugurated the public latrine which the toops built for public use in the barangay hall.
In addition, the troops also invited the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian headed by Dr. Diosado Taverner who conducted a free anti-rabbies vaccination of all the dogs there. (PIA-Abra) [top]