MAKILALA, Cotabato Province, Dec. 2 (PIA) -- "Biangan is ready for development."
Thus, says Punong Barangay Reynaldo Monreal as he welcomed officials from the municipal and provincial government and regional line agencies as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to the Serbisyo Caravan in Barangay Biangan Tuesday.
Biangan is one of the four barangays in Makilala municipality and 36 barangays in Cotabato Province to be included in the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP), a convergence of all government agencies to deliver services in line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's EO 70, institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach to promote inclusive and sustainable development and end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC).
During the caravan, residents of Biangan enjoyed government services such as free haircut and manicure, supplemental feeding, distribution of seedlings and other planting materials, animal dispersal, anti-rabies vaccination and animal vitamins, health kits, medicines, turnover of land titles, registration for skills training, health insurance, and many others.
In her message to the people of Biangan, Gov. Nancy Catamco emphasized that the caravan is only the beginning of a more comprehensive government focus on their community.
"President Duterte's order under EO 70 is for all government agencies to go down to communities like Barangay Biangan so that people can receive government services intended for them."
In response to Gov. Catamco's announcement, Chairman Monreal said: "Nagapasalamat kami nga ang Biangan nasulod sa ELCAC. Tinuod nga biktima ang Biangan kay nasulod g'yud mi sa kalihukan adtong naunang panahon."
(We are thankful that Barangay Biangan is included in ELCAC because truly we were victims because in the past we were influenced by the leftist movement.)
In 1980s until early 2000s, evacuation was a regular event in the barangay because of insurgency. In fact, many residents were blacklisted because of their involvement with the communist terrorist group (CTG), he explained.
Urging cooperation from his constituents for the RCSP, he said: "Wala na kita gipasagdan sa gobyerno. Sa una moingon kita nga sa atong barangay walay gobyerno nga nagtan-aw. Ang atong dalan pirting gubaa nga ultimo ang mga motor ug kabayo maglisud ug agi sa atong dalan. Ang katawhan nitipas kay walay gobyerno nga gaatiman.
"Pero karon tan-awa ninyo. Gipasagdan pa ba 'ta? Wala na. Huna-hunaon nato kanunay nga ang gobyerno nagpaluyo na 'nato."
(The government has not anymore neglected us. In the past we said, no government cared for us. Our road was too dilapidated that even motorcycles and horses had difficulty traversing. People were lost [to the CTG] because no government was looking out for us.
"But look at us now. Are we still being neglected? No, we're not.
"Let us always remember that the government has our back).
At the caravan, Gov. Catamco announced that as an RCSP-target barangay Biangan could receive P20-million development assistance package from the national government that they may spend on projects of their choice.
Monreal said that the Barangay Council, in consultation with the community, has already planned for the national government funding: P5 million for school building at the Day Care Center, P1 M for construction of a tribal health center, P2 M for construction of a multipurpose building in Purok 1, P7 M for construction of a classroom building at the Biangan Elementary School, P1 M for day care center materials, P1 M for cash-for-work program, P1 M for food assistance, and P1 M for posts for 100 houses without electricity.
Apart from the P20-million funding under the General Appropriations Act, Biangan has also received the commitments from regional line agencies through their programs, projects, and activities to address the development needs of the community.
Meanwhile, Mayor Armando Quibod announced at the event that LGU Makilala has earmarked at least P11 million in 2021 for concreting of 1-kilometer road to Biangan.
Gov. Catamco also vowed that besides the continued delivery of basic services, the provincial government will help the barangay council coordinate with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to expedite the certification of their identified relocation site for the victims of 2019 earthquakes.
Catamco will return to the village this week specifically to inspect the proposed relocation area and meet the village council on the steps that should be taken to push through with the project. (DED-PIA XII)