RESIDENTS of a village in Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental, returned to their homes after fleeing last week to escape what they said was harassment from soldiers.

The residents, who are Higaonons, took shelter at the provincial capital grounds, and agreed to return to Sitio Camansi in Barangay Banglay only if the soldiers in the detachment there were pulled out.

The military said the soldiers withdrew on June 6.

A fact-finding team from the provincial capitol confirmed the pullout.  

"Unta magtunhay ang kalinaw sa among pagpauli sa among lugar," said Sarisa Acosta, Sitio Camansi purok leader.

Capt. Jo Patrick Martinez, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the 4th Infantry Division, clarified that the withdrawal of the troops from Camansi was only “temporarily.”

The military set up a detachment in Camansi following reports that the New People’s Army (NPA) had sympathizers in the village.

Acosta said the soldiers are welcome to return as long as their officers promise to stop harassing the residents.

She said they do not want any armed group interfering in their lives. "Dili lang ni sa military, kung naa gyu'y NPA, dili pud mi gusto basta makadalag gubot sa amoang pamuyo," she said.

The provincial government sent food packs, seeds for the farmers, and personal items like soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo to the returning residents.

"Actually, they can stay here as long as they want to. I don't want them to go home just yet since they are our visitors, they are all welcome here," Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro on Tuesday.