FORMER insurgents turned peace and development volunteers and organized farmers association by the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) benefited from the animal dispersal program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Soccsksargen.
The recipients of the program are members of the Peace and Development Farmers Association based in Banayal, an insurgency-cleared village in Tulunan, North Cotabato.
The association, headed by Ester France, received 65 heads of goats on Thursday, September 23. The Community Development Team of the 39IB witnessed the handover of the livestock.
“We are grateful that the government provided our organization income-generating opportunities with these goats. This will sustain our daily needs and will eventually help us to become a self-sustaining PO (People’s Organization),” France said.
Lieutenant Colonel Ezra Balagtey, 39IB commander, said the animal dispersal is part of the Department of Agriculture’s Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-Saad) program, which is part of the convergence program of the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) that aims to address the socio-economic issues of former local communist insurgency affected areas.
Balagtey expressed his appreciation for the aggressive implementation of the Whole of Nation Approach in fighting insurgency.
“We feel that insurgency is now being fought by the whole nation. This activity which aims to support the former mass base by providing them sustainable livelihood is a way of insulating them from re-indoctrination from CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) terrorists. It will negate the propaganda of the terrorist that the government is negligent in its duties and responsibilities, especially in delivering programs and services to marginalized communities,” he added. (SunStar Zamboanga)