ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 01 June) — At least 146 families displaced by the recent firefight between soldiers and the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a remote village here have received food assistance from the government.
The city government and the Army’s 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion conducted a relief operation on Saturday in Sitio Karibaw, Barangay Mainit, where soldiers and the NPA rebels clashed on May 27 that injured a soldier and an undetermined number of guerillas.
Alfredo Mehino, Jr., Barangay Mainit chairperson, said that due to the bad road to Sitio Karibaw, which is about 44 kilometers southeast of Iligan City, the relief goods were distributed at Sitio Loklok of the same village.
Mayor Celso Regencia ordered the City Social Welfare and Development Office to extend food packs to the displaced villagers.
Also joining the relief operations were representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government and a team from the local police that helped provide security.
Martin Baklohan, a community leader in Sitio Karibaw, urged the government to improve the road condition, provide livelihood and address the medical needs of people as a way to bring peace and development to their far-flung area.
Mehino said that NPA rebels previously attacked the detachment of the Civilian Home Defense Force in the village in June 1984 and that a firefight also occurred between the communist rebels and the military in January 2017 in the area.
He urged residents to not panic following last week’s encounter between soldiers and the NPA rebels, saying that government forces have secured the borders.
Barangay Mainit has 687 households composed of at least 3,000 residents. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)