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Strong IP communities key to defeat insurgency: Army

August 06, 2020 - Thursday 11:08 AM by PNA

Article Banner Image STRONG IP COMMUNITIES. Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo (center), commander of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion, and Datu Bawang Eddie Eddie Sulhayan Ampiyawan (left), the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative of Agusan del Norte, join the dialogue initiated by Sec. Allen Capuyan, of the National Commission on Indigenous People, and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, with the tribal communities in Agusan del Norte on Aug. 4, 2020. (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

BUTUAN CITY – A top official of the Philippine Army in Agusan del Norte has underscored the role of strong communities among the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the province to end the local conflicts caused by the communist insurgency.

In a statement Wednesday (August 5), Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commander of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion, lauded the efforts of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in reaching out to the IP communities and leaders in Agusan del Norte to see the tribe's "Actual situations and gather their issues and concerns."

Sec. Allen Capuyan, NCIP chairperson and NTF-ELCAC head, was in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur on August 3 to 4 and held dialogues with various IP communities in Agusan del Norte.

“Secretary Capuyan’s visit was timely and very important considering that the IPs in the towns of Las Nieves, Buenavista, Nasipit and Carmen in Agusan del Norte are greatly affected not only by the health threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic but also from the intimidations and extortions of the remaining Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) in their communities,” Paulo said.

He said countless of ordinary IPs and tribal leaders in Agusan del Norte have lost their lives because of the "continued terroristic activities" of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“CNT manipulations are the real threat to the IPs which destroy their future by deceiving them to join their useless ideology. The IP communities, their families and children continue to suffer and the CNTs continue to sow fear and chaos, not only in communities in Agusan del Norte but also in the rest of the region,” Paulo said.

He said Capuyan's visit was one way of strengthening IP communities, as tribe members were given the chance to air their concerns for immediate resolution.

“Strengthened IP communities are vital to the continuing efforts of the government to defeat the insurgency that hamper our development interventions and initiatives,” Paulo said.

The towns of Las Nieves, Buenavista, Nasipit, and Carmen are the homes of the Higaonon tribe and under the operational jurisdiction of the 23IB.
 

Paulo said the support of the Higaonon leaders and communities was responsible for the success of recent military operations against the remaining members of Guerrilla Front 4A of the NPA in the area.

IP leaders, he added, also helped the Army and the local government units (LGUs) in reaching out to NPA combatants who want to surrender. Alexander Lopez

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