NEGROS Occidental Fifth District Rep. Emilio Yulo III said his office is now giving priority on anti-poverty projects as he recognizes that poverty breeds insurgency.

These projects, he said, includes building farm-to market roads (FMRs) and support for farmers in the hinterland barangays of his district.

“One of the causes of insurgency is poverty in the hinterland areas, (thus), we have productivity training programs for our small farmers in far- flung areas,” Yulo said.

He noted that they have started infrastructure projects at Barangay Banog- banog in Isabela, Barangay Macagahay in Moises Padilla and Barangays Cabadiangan and Mambagaton in Himamaylan City and in Brangay Payao in Binalbagan.

“These are strategically- located where we need to lower their production cost,” he also said.

During the recent evacuation of residents in the hinterland barangays of Himamaylan City due to clashes between government troops and rebels, Yulo said, his office was one of the first responders bringing hot meals to evacuees, he also said.

Yulo also said that his office is also bringing government services closer to residents in these areas.

“We brought the services of the Social Security System (SSS) to the 5th district (and) facilitate change of name and problems with their birth certificates. We always help on these problems which are often encountered by our less- privileged constituents,” he said.

In a related development, some 200 residents of Barangay Oringao in Kabankalan City reportedly fled their homes after reportedly hearing gun fires Friday night, December 2.

According to local authorities residents from Puroks Mansawin, Pitgong, and Nabalikan left their homes about 5 p.m.

The affected residents temporarily spent the night at the barangay’s covered court, and the city government also provided them with food aid and returned home the following day.

The Kabankalan City Police Station and the Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion, clarified, however, that no encounter took place in the area, although they are now investigating the incident.

Last week, an encounter took place in the neighboring village of Camansi between the the government forces and the New People’s Army (NPA) which resulted in the death of a high-ranking rebel leader.

Killed during the encounter were National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) coordinator Ericson Acosta and alleged Communist Terrorist Group member Albert Jimenez.*