Marines hold outreach program for Palawan IPs

By Celeste Anna Formoso

August 21, 2017, 5:45 pm

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Government troops in southern Palawan on Sunday brought humanitarian aid to tribal communities affected by military operations against the New People's Army (NPA).

Captain Wanel Ansa, environment management and civil military officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4), said Monday that the "All-in-One Outreach Program” benefited more than 400 Pala'wan indigenous peoples (IPs) in Sitio Kamantian, Barangay Samariñana, Brooke’s Point, southern Palawan.

“The warm welcome of our Pala'wan IP brothers only proves that they no longer want the CPP-NPA-NDF’s intrusion in their communities because they only make life hard for their peaceful way of life,” Ansa told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

It can be recalled that in June this year, troops belonging to MBLT-4 under the Joint Task Group South (JTGS), overran a drill camp of the NPA in Barangay Samariñana.

MBLT-4 commanding officer, Lt. Col. Danilo Facundo, said that the overran camp was used for marksmanship training of NPA members.

The humanitarian aid provided for the Pala'wan tribes includes free medical check-up, feeding program, gift-giving from Brooke’s Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano’s office, anti-rabies vaccination, distribution of vegetable seeds, distribution of medicines and vitamins for domestic animals, and distribution of treated bed nets against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Ansa added that the outreach activity also paved the way for the conduct of a site survey for a proposed water system project in Kamantian that already has an allocated budget from the local government.

Around 16 domestic goats were also distributed to the Pala'wan IP beneficiaries as alternative livelihood, said Ansa.

“These native goats can be farmed by the beneficiaries to be source of additional income for their families,” he said.

The humanitarian outreach program was conducted In partnership with the local government of Brooke’s Point, Rural Health Unit (RHU), Municipal Engineering Office (MEO), Municipal Registrar Office (MRO), PhilHealth, Nutrition Office, Agriculture Office, and other stakeholders.

Government troops have so far overran three major encampments of the NPA -- two of these were allegedly used to train members to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 12 gauge shotguns. (PNA)