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PIA Press Release
2008/11/30

68IB joins ground breaking and turn-over of housing materials in North Cotabato

ICC Kidapawan City (30 November) -- The Local Government Unit (LGU) Midsayap led by Mayor Manuel M. Rabara together with the 68th Infantry (Kaagapay) Battalion, 2ID, PA under LTC Antonio B Sugarol INF (GSC) PA and the Civil Affairs Team of the US Army under CPT Tyler Oliver, have recently bonded together to repair structures destroyed by the retreating MILF rebels during the height of armed encounter at Brgy Upper Labas, Midsayap last August 10, 2008.

On the other hand, both Muslims and Christians in the area provided much needed manpower in the noble project. They were directly affected by the encroachment of the Lawless MILF Group (LMG) particularly the 105th Base Command under the leadership of Umbra Kato.

One of the atrocities that the LMG committed in August was the burning of the Catholic Chapel and two (2) residential houses in Brgy Upper Labas, Midsayap, North Cotabato. The burnt buildings reminded the community and the populace the wounds inflicted into the consciousness of the people in the area. To usher peace and stability there, the 68IB, LGU Midsayap and Civil Affairs Team of the US Army under CPT Oliver, conducted community relations activities in Upper Labas.

One of the community relations projects that the unit identified in consultation with the residents is the construction of the new Catholic Chapel in the affected barangay. The LGUs, 68IB, together with the US troops in the area provided the construction materials and the residents of the barangay provided manpower and labor.

The ground breaking ceremony and the turn-over of construction materials was a symbolic gesture of cooperation between the AFP and the US Army, in helping the communities directly affected by the conflict.

A harmonious relation between the parties involved and peace loving Muslims residing in the area was very evident after the turnover. The populace felt the government is concern in their plight as well as the sincerity of the other parties involved in protecting and saving lives and properties of innocent civilians in Mindanao. (68th IB (Kaagapay)/PIA 12) [top]

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