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Ex-UGMO members take oath of allegiance

By Ana-Liza Macatangay

LIBMANAN, Camarines Sur --- The 81st Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army commended the former advocates of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) here for their courage to abandon finally the group that made their lives “difficult and miserable.”

Lt. Col. Racii Alejandro G. Sotto, commanding officer of the Army Division, said the former UGMO members have bravely assailed the New People’s Army as they verbalized the pledge of allegiance to the Philippine Flag and to the Republic of the Philippines and vowed to renounce any support to the enemies of the government.

According to the community leaders in Barangays Calabnigan and Villa Socorro, where the oath of allegiance was conducted last July 12 and 14, this year, the former members of UGMO have for several years been anxiously living under the clutch of the communist terrorists.

Over a hundred UGMO members from 5 barangays of Libmanan publicly swore before the national flag that they will refrain from extending aid anymore to the rebel group especially if it would compromise the peace and order of their communities.

FORMER UGMO members burn effigies of things and individuals who deprived them of having a comfortable life in their communities.

There are residents of Barangays Calabnigan, Caima, Villasocorro, Cawayan, and Tanag – five out of 75 barangays in Libmanan considered Geographically Isolated and Disadvantages Areas (GIDAs) in Camarines Sur.

Calabnigan Punong Barangay Martin C. Loreno admitted that their barangay has served as a sanctuary for CPP-NPA members for decades and has perpetuated fear and deception among his constituents.

“Matagal na rin talaga na ang barangay ko pong na-iimpluwensyahan ng CPP- NPA- NDF so namulat na rin po kami. Unang una, bilang Punong Barangay. Sampu po ng aking mga barangay kagawad at aking mga constituents ay talaga pong seryoso na po kami sa kampanya ng pamahalaan na tuldukan na po at itigilan na ang pagsusuporta sa mga maling ideloyohiya CPP-NPA –NDF (Our barangay has been under the influence of the CPP-NPA-NDF for a long period of time, but we have now gained enlightenment. As Punong Barangay, together with my barangay kagawad, we are truly committed to ending our support for the deceptive ideology of the CPP-NPA-NDF),” Loreno stated.

Loreno said they have endured difficult circumstances while facing challenges brought by poverty and inaccessibility to government services in the past.

The Serbisyo Caravan, he said, and the support given by the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine National Police (PNP), the local government unit of Libmanan, and other agencies of the government, are testaments that the era of living in fear has come to a close and an assured future awaits the villagers of Calabnigan and Caima.

LTC Sotto also disclosed that the government does not seek to harm the members of the New People’s Army instead they are giving them an opportunity to reunite with their loved ones, re-integrate into society and lead a peaceful life.

“Sa mga NPA, taos puso po akong nanawagan sainyo, bukas ang pintuan ng 81st IB, ng inyong Philippine Army, pintuan at pati bintana, open arms, sasalubungin namin kayong lahat para kayo ay bumalik na sa inyong mahal sa buhay at makapiling ang inyong mahal sa buhay at tulungan ang gobyerno, (To all NPAs, I am earnestly enjoining you, the Philippine Army is opening its doors for you, we will welcome you with open arms so that you can re connect and be with your loved ones and positively contribute to the government),” Sotto added.

Sotto made mentioned that the initial construction of the inner road going all the way up to Calabnigan worth Php4 million was funded from the government’s Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) in 2021 and continued under the DILG’s Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) in 2022.

This he said, is a manifestation that the government is doing its best to reach even the remotest and isolated barangays in the countryside to improve their accessibility and uplift their living condition by fostering economic improvement thru enhanced infrastructure.

Whole of Nation Approach

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has been reiterating his call for peace and advocating for unity and economic reform through the assistance of various government agencies which aims to uplift the lives of disadvantaged communities across the country.

Through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the president continues to push for the Whole of Nation Approach to harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas.

With the theme “Tulong at Malasakit para sa ika-uunlad at ika-aangat ng Pamumuhay ng Mamamayan,” the 81st IB, with the assistance of various partners, was able to bring the following services to the constituents of Libmanan, residing in Barangays Caima, Calabnigan, Villa Socorro, Tanag, and Cawayan.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) briefed the UGMOS on the benefits that they will receive under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS); BFAR and 95th Special Action Company turned over thousands of tilapia fingerlings to fishpond owners; TESDA conducted profiling of TESDA training while the Land Transportation Office (LTO) conducted theoretical driving.

DOH RO 5 turned over vitamins and medicines; DA distributed assorted vegetable seeds and garden tools to the community beneficiaries; DTI committed sewing machines; DOLE profiled recipients of starter toolkits while PENRO and DAR extended technical assistance.

Libmanan MPS assisted in the issuance of police clearance, and distributed school supplies and slippers; the 1st PMFC distributed hygiene kits; Mt. Isarog Spartan Eagles and Lady Eagles also distributed slippers and conducted feeding, members of the Army and PNP offered free haircuts while LGU Libmanan shouldered the meals and snacks of the participating agencies. (PIA 5 /Camarines Sur)


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