Davao military official suggests livelihood, education for IPs
By Jean Duron-Abangan
Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte (23 September) -- Commanding General Eduardo del Rosario of 1003rd Infantry Brigade said he would recommend to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III the grant of livelihood assistance and extend education services to indigenous communities.
In an interview during the final coordination meeting of agencies preparing for the visit of President Aquino last week, Del Rosario viewed his recommendation as a way of discouraging members of IP communities from joining the ranks of the New People's Army (NPA).
Along with other top local government officials of Davao del Norte and neighboring provinces, Del Rosario received Aquino as the Presidential chopper touched down Sitio Talos, seven and a half kilometers away from Poblacion Sto. Tomas.
Del Rosario viewed Talos as a strategic place for the President to pay a visit as he noted that the area used to be under the influence of the NPA.
But its Ata-Manobo residents now are working with the government especially when the KALAHI-CIDSS (Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) came to the place and built for them houses paving way for their permanent settlement.
Del Rosario wanted government attention be given to IP communities as he noted that "60 percent to 70 percent of NPA (recruits) in Region 11 are lumads," he said.
He further bared to have seen the real objective of NPA influence over IP communities, saying NPAs are converting the lumads into rebels and that their communities are being made as guerilla bases.
A former strategic area for insurgency operation, Sitio Talos is now being considered as a thriving haven of members of the Ata-Manobo tribe who are living in peace now since they have been given permanent housing through the KALAHI-CIDSS.
A total of 49 housing units partly made of hollow blocks and plywood were built during the third cycle of KALAHI-CIDSS implementation in Sto. Tomas from January 9, 2006 to June 30, 2006.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, KC implementer, together with the local government of Sto. Tomas, poured in more than P2 million for the tribal housing sub-project. (PIA-XI) [top]