MARAMAG, Bukidnon, July 4 - The 214 persons who fled their homes due to fear of the New People's Army (NPA) brutalities returned on Monday to their respective homes in Sitios Tagbacan, Tumbaga, Katablaran, and Saluringan all of barangay Canangaan in Cabanglasan town, Bukidnon province.
After several days of stay in evacuation centers at San Vicente Elementary School and Iba Integrated School, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), locally known as "Bakwits," headed home safely with loads of relief packs from the local government.
Cabanglasan town mayor Renante Inocando said the IDPs fled their communities amidst threats from the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) who extort money and food.
He said that immediately upon receiving the "evacuation" report last week, the provincial government of Bukidnon and Cabanglasan local government unit (LGU) took care of the "Bakwits (IDPs)" by providing them food and relief packs so that they could somehow endure such difficult situation at the evacuation centers.
While the 214 IDPs were temporarily housed at two separate evacuation centers in Cabanglasan town, the Army's 88th Infantry Battalion (88IB) of the 403rd Brigade (403Bde) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), in coordination with Cabanglasan LGU instituted a stress debriefing; Malaria disease prevention info awareness drive; and feeding program. The government forces also carried out a medical mission to ensure the evacuees' well-being.
Mayor Inocando who facilitated the IDPs' ride back home also led the distribution of relief packs for every household. With this, the IDPs moved back home with loads of relief packs each containing 10 kilos rice; canned goods; packs of powdered milk, biscuits, coffee, noodles; bars of laundry soap; sachets of shampoo; bath soap; two pieces of diaper per baby; a mosquito net; a pot; and sets of plate, spoon, and fork.
With all thanksgiving, Mrs. Layla Dumogan, one of the evacuees from Sitio Tumbaga said, "Nagpasalamat ko sa gobyerno ug sa mga taga 88IB ug atong kapulisan alang sa ilang suporta ug tabang sa amo (I thank the government, the 88IB, and our PNP for their support and assistance).
In simple rites prior to the sending off of the evacuees back to their homes, Mayor Inocando urged them to help the government in its efforts in achieving peace and development.
"We, your local government together with the 88th Infantry Battalion and the PNP will continue to do our commitments to bring basic services amid this situation. We hope for your full cooperation," the mayor said.
Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Fabic, commanding Officer of 88IB also said, "We are very thankful to the local government for giving basic services to the evacuees while we are doing our job in defeating the NPA who sow terror here in Cabanglasan. I am also thankful to the citizen who reported the presence of the NPAs that resulted in the major accomplishment of our government forces."
"We assure you that your Army together with PNP will protect you and won't allow your peaceful living to be disturbed again by lawless people. In return, we are hoping for your continuous contribution by not allowing any presence of CNTs in your community," LtCol Fabic added. (CMO, 88IB, 403Bde, 4ID, PA/PIA Bukidnon)