BALBALAN, Kalinga – Eleven barangays of this municipality will benefit from various government programs and projects with their coverage in the Community Support Program (CSP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the 50th Infantry Battalion, in partnership with the local government unit and national line agencies.
The barangays covered and identified as End Local Communist Armed Conflict (Elcac) areas are Balantoy, Gawa-an, Ab-abaan, Ba-ay, Balbalasang, Buaya, Dao-angan, Maling, Talalang, Pantikian, and Mabaca.
The recent launching was highlighted with the signing of certificates of acceptance and commitment to guarantee mutual support to the CSP teams in the municipality.
With convergence of services as the strategy to bring interventions to these Elcac barangays, grassroots planning will be conducted by Army teams assigned to gather data needed in the identification of programs or projects to be funded by Elcac.
They will also facilitate the preparation of project proposals for funding.
Balbalan Mayor Eric Gonayon welcomed the 50IB soldiers as he lauded the Army’s efforts prioritizing Balbalan for the CSP.
He said the CSP team will help the LGU in identifying community concerns, which is also a big help in the delivery of various services in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.
50IB Commander Lt.Col. Melanio Somera said the CSP troops do not bring with them the solutions, but they serve as facilitators in addressing the issues on the exploitation of New People’s Army rebels in the communities in collaboration with the LGU, agencies, and other stakeholders.
He said the community and village heads have critical roles in advocating and protecting the youths and students from joining the NPA.
“We will also conduct localized peace engagements to convince NPA remnants to surrender and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program for them to start a new and normal life.
“Your Philippine Army will be working in your areas not only to address peace and security concerns but also to help facilitate the safe delivery of government basic social services in distant and conflict-affected areas. Our aim is to bring our government closer to the people,” Somera said.
Meanwhile, 503rd Brigade Executive Officer Lt. Col. Magtangol Panopio rallied the villagers to be on the side of government.
“Your Philippine Army is always here as a partner of the LGUs in attaining sustainable peace and inclusive development. It is imperative that we undertake the whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach to end the local communist armed conflict,” he said.
Municipal Local Government Operations Officer Mediatrix Alino said if the CSP is successful, LGUs will be mandated to sustain the projects through by including them in the the Local Investment Plan. – Peter A. Balocnit