SERVICE CARAVAN. Residents of Barangays Quiapo, San Isidro, Kalbay, and Molmol in Jose Abad Santos town, Davao Occidental, benefit from a convergence of government services, on Monday (November 18, 2019). Various services were delivered by the member-agencies of the Davao Occidental Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (Photo courtesy of PIA-11)

DAVAO CITY – Thousands of residents from a "Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area" (GIDA) in the Davao Occidental town of Jose Abad Santos (JAS), benefited from the convergence of government services on Monday.

Member-agencies of the Davao Occidental Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) organized the service caravan in Barangays Quiapo, San Isidro, Kalbay, and Molmol in JAS town.

Governor Claude Bautista said the service caravan aims to support the government's drive to address communist armed conflict in far-flung areas where the communist New People's Army (NPA) maintains a presence.

Bautista said the activity was the second service caravan for Barangay Molmol, the farthest barangay of JAS where government services had been scarce because of distance and road inaccessibility.

“That’s why we are here to let you know that the provincial government will continue to provide services. We are here to let you feel that the government will always be here for you,” the governor assured residents, as he called on people’s cooperation and support to attain lasting peace and progress in the province.

On the other hand, JAS Mayor Jason John Joyce assured his constituents that government services will reach the farthest and the poorest area.

“We want your wives and children to be safe. They don’t have to join the war. The government is always ready to provide assistance,” Joyce said, referring to the recruitment of the NPA in areas where government presence remains minimal.

Bautista and Joyce led the turnover of food packs and PHP1,000 assistance to each senior citizen in the village, populated mostly by Manobo and Blaan families.

The governor also witnessed the distribution of Certificates of Landownership Award (CLOAs) to four farmers by the provincial officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

The provincial LGU targets to hold the third ELCAC convergence of services to Barangay Marabatuan, also in JAS, before yearend. (PNA)