TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur- Prior to their deployment, the Community Support Program (CSP) Team of Philippine Army undergone series of lectures regarding the native’s customs and traditions in the area of operation, held at 26th Infantry “Ever Onward” Battalion Headquarters, Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
Carlos M. Otacan, a.k.a Datu Balobagyo, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur together with other IP leaders conducted the said activity. Otacan discussed briefly the IPRA laws while the other tribal leaders discussed the different customs and traditions of their respective tribes namely Manobo, Higaonon, Banwaon and some others. “Respect begets respect. If you respect the natives’ way of life and beliefs, surely you will earn their respect too.”, Otacan said.
According to Lt Col Romeo C Jimenea, the commanding officer of 26th IB, the said lecture was part of the retraining programs for the CSP teams before their immersion in the community, to serve as their diplomatic weapon in dealing with the IP communities. He further said that the knowledge that they will acquire from the lectures is very necessary in winning the trust and confidence of the populace. “Respect the IP members, be kind and set good examples because you will represent the government. If you learn to adapt their customs and traditions, you will win the hearts and minds of the IP community”, Lt Col Jimenea said.
“We belie all issues of the leftist group that the CSP is part of militarization in the countryside. The objective of the CSP is to serve as a bridge between the community and concerned government agencies, to deliver basic services and address the community’s concerns. If we accomplish all of these, for sure, there will be no more victims of CPP-NPA’s deception and propaganda”, Lt Col Jimenea ended