Group Brings Peace and Unity Campaign on City Streets

Top army executives and City Government officials together with the participants of the Peace Building Seminar make the peace sign during the seminar’s closing ceremony.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – A group of residents from far-flung communities here take to the streets of the City of Mati their campaign for peace and unity during a staged Peace Rally on Saturday, May 13.

Despite the drizzle, the 185 residents of five villages in the City of Mati, who have just completed a four-day Peace Building Seminar, go around the city streets aboard military trucks holding peace signages while enthusiastically promoting peace.

Aboard military trucks, the group go around the city streets to campaign for peace

These new graduates of the Peace Building Seminar are residents of nine sitios in the villages of Sainz, Matiao, Central, Taguibo, and Buso – villages known to have small fraction of residents being influenced by leftist ideology.

These residents, who are mostly farmers, wholeheartedly accepted their role as citizens of the nation. They say the rebels have thrived on people’s insecurities on poverty and poor delivery of government services which drove them to mistrust the government in the past.

Col. Reuben Basiao, Commander of the 701st Brigade of the Philippine Army, who are among those who spearheaded the activity, said these people are simply victims of the ‘deception’ of the Communist New People’s Army Rebels, turning them against the government.

Col. Reuben Basiao, Commander of the 701st Brigade of the Philippine Army

He said the Province of Davao Oriental has gone dramatic change over the past few years. “Davao Oriental is different from what it had been when I left it in 2011 in comparison to today’s development,” he said. He said paved roads are almost everywhere cutting down travel time while aiding farmers and residents on their livelihood. Tourism infrastructures and facilities spur economic opportunities for locals, and healthcare facilities are improving, among many others. He highlighted the Provincial Government-initiated Nagkakaisang Lingkod ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan which has been bringing much-needed services especially to the most depressed communities.

During the peace building seminar, being organized by the Philippine Army and the City Government of Mati with the support of the Provincial Government, the participants were taught about the spirit of nationalism and love for country. The seminar educated them that each individual has a role to take in upholding the country’s peace and freedom.

Part of the seminar is giving participants a tour to some of Davao Oriental’s exquisite tourism destinations, namely: Subangan Provincial Museum in the City of Mati, Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in San Isidro town and Pusan Point Eco Park in Caraga town.

During the seminar, participants were given lectures on livelihood by speakers from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Trade and Industry, City Planning Office and City Information Office, among others.

The said seminar is part of the Philippine Army’s peace program called Community Support Program which will be formally launched next week in the City of Mati. Being supported by the local government, the program directly involves the communities’ participation in peace building and development. Col. Basiao urged the community members to support the government’s thrusts in order for the province to achieve a sustainable and long-lasting peace and development. By Karen Lou Deloso

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