A tribal community here is starting to break off from long years of poverty and neglect as more government services are finally reaching the area through the convergence efforts of various agencies.
Datu Fulong Dan Alim, Blaan tribal chieftain and head of the Indigenous People’s Alliance Movement, said Friday their community in Barangay Mabuhay has already been reaping the gains of various projects implemented in the last two years by facilitated by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
He said these include the construction of a farm-to-market road and implementation of community-based infrastructure as well as livelihood projects.
Alim, in an interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar over the weekly “Cabinet Report,” said their village was once a problematic area due to the inaccessible roads and the lack of livelihood opportunities for residents.
He said the situation was difficult for local residents, especially members of the Blaan tribe, who became targets for recruitment by the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“We grew up in that situation. Although our village was spared from the armed conflicts, some members of our tribe were lured into joining the NPA while others became part of their masa (sympathizers),” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)