ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 14 April) – Some 140 Subanen families in 128 households received food packs from the 53rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, commanding officer of 53IB, said that the Subanen are vulnerable to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic even if they are living in far-flung hinterlands.
He was referring to the village of Piwan, some 25 kilometers southwest of Midsalip town in Zamboanga del Sur, where his men travelled for two hours Tuesday.
Herrera said that aside from the food packs, each household received information materials written in Cebuano and a transistor radio to keep them updated on news and information on COVID-19 and peacebuilding efforts of the government.
“Army troopers taught the Subanen community the importance of social distancing, use of facemasks, handwashing and other proper hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic,” Herrera said.
Last December, Piwan was attacked by members of the New People’s Army after two of their members surrendered to the military, Herrera said.
“The 53IB established a detachment anew to protect the interests of the Subanen community,” he said. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)