Army says village cleared of rebels

AN ARMY official said the area where soldiers and New People's Army (NPA) rebels clashed in Sitio Camansi, Banglay, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental has been cleared since Saturday, June 2.

This means that military operations in the area has ceased and evacuees can now safely go home, 4th Infantry Division (4ID) spokesperson 1st Lieutenant Tere Ingente said.

But from barangay Lumbo's basketball court in Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, s

Some 38 families or 161 individuals evacuated to the Provincial Capitol last Sunday, a day after the area was declared cleared by the military.

Ingente maintained that the evacuees, who first evacuated to a basketball court in Barangay Lumbo of the same town, were already well taken cared of.

"We are saddened that the evacuees came all the way to CDO from Barangay Lumbo Basketball Court in Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental. Before the encounter happened last May 27, they have already evacuated. They received aid from the Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction Office that includes: rice, canned goods, meat, mats and blankets during the time they were in Lumbo," she said.

She urged the evacuees to go home and not allow themselves to "be used by organizations as propaganda to advance their own self-serving agenda".

She said the public should look into who funded the evacuation and who provided the vehicles to transfer the evacuees from Lagonglong, which is 70 kilometers away from Cagayan de Oro.

One of the evacuees' concerns is the construction of a military detachment in their area, but Ingente disclosed that this initiative is supported by the local government unit in their Lantad Valley Complex project.

The project aims to make Balingasag, Lagonglong, and Gingoog City-- all in the Lantad Valley Complex stretch, insurgency-free areas.

"The detachment is 1 to 2 kilometers away from the community, and what is prohibited is building a detachment only 500 meters away from a community. The local government is also aware of the detachment construction and is part of the government's development plan for security purposes," she added.

Some tribal leaders even wrote a request to 4ID to build a military detachment in their areas so that Indigenous People (IP) soldiers can be assigned in the detachment.

"These 38 families is only maybe 1/8 of the whole Sitio Camansi population, they do not represent the whole community," Ingente said.

The evacuees claim they left their community because gun battles between soldiers and the NPA have been continuing since May 27.


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