Rebel-cleared village gets livelihood project

(Photo Courtesy of 61st Infantry Hunter Battalion)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

FORMER rebel-influenced barangay received government livelihood grant.

Now considered a New People’s Army (NPA)-cleared area, Barangay Puti-an in Cuartero, Capiz is a beneficiary of a grain flatbed mechanical dryer project worth P800,000.

The project is intended to benefit the growing members of the Putian Farmers Association (PFA). Presently, the group has 86 members.

A mechanical dryer is a machine that removes the water from wet grains by forcing heated air through the grain bulk. In a flatbed dryer, the same quantity of grain is kept stationary in a holding bin until drying is completed.

Personnel from the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion and 301st Infantry Brigade attended the inauguration and blessing rites held at Putian village on Aug 14, 2019.

Colonel Orlando Edralin, 301st IB deputy commander, led the Army personnel in witnessing the event, “as we considered it a milestone in our anti-insurgency campaign in Panay Island.”

Putian is one of the first four villages in Panay Island where the military deployed its CSP team.

The CSP, which replaces AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan, emphasizes the military’s new thrust of enhancing nation-building and countryside development in relation to the peace policy of President Rodrigo Duterte

CSP is a people-centered program which aims to bring peace and development in conflict-affected barangays. It is an initiative of the state forces to bring the government closer to the people through an immediate delivery of basic services especially to grassroots communities.

The project was realized through the concerted efforts of the local government unit, the stakeholders, and the CSP teams deployed in the area.

The farmers’ group has requested for the project through a barangay resolution forwarded to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The request was later approved by the DOLE-Capiz.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, 61st IB commander, said the initiative is a manifestation of the strong commitment of the government and the Philippine Army to help the geographically-isolated and depressed communities.

It only shows that the Army is truly for the people, and the CSP is our tool to prove our sincerity in helping these communities address their socio-economic problems,” he said.