North Cotabato highlights Food Security Program during province’s 106th foundation celebrations

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sep) – The weeklong celebrations of the Cotabato province’s 106th foundation anniversary culminated on Tuesday with thanksgiving and ecumenical services with the theme, “Together We Heal as One.”

Governor Nancy Catamco said the year 2020 was not a good year for the people of North Cotabato because of the several disasters that hit the province.

“We have not fully recovered yet from the series of quakes in late 2019, here comes the pandemic brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In late July this year, a deadly pig virus, African Swine Fever, attacked our hog industry. But I know, together, we will heal as one,” the governor said during the thanksgiving.

Previously, the province’s foundation day celebrations always started with merrymaking and the get together of the Moros, Lumads, and the migrants or settlers from Visayas and Luzon. They call it as “Kalivungan,” a Manobo term which means “getting together as one.”

This year, however, because of the pandemic that prohibits mass gatherings, the weeklong fiesta became the take-off point for the launching of the provincial government’s Food Security Program and Taniman 106, the Catamco said.

Reports from the media bureau of the governor’s office said there were at least three areas where the program was launched: in Barangay Tinacubong in Alamada on August 29; in Barangay Nueva Vida, M’lang on August 30; and in Barangay Mahongkog, Magpet on August 31.

For Catamco, the LGU’s food security program will ensure there is enough food on the table for the people of North Cotabato.

“We had partnerships with the Department of Agriculture and other government line agencies or instrumentalities in helping farmers, fisherfolks, business sector, or anyone involved in agriculture and food business cope with the crisis brought about by the pandemic,” the governor said in Filipino.

The province’s foundation day’s austere celebrations ended with a short press briefing with the governor where she detailed some information on the killing on August 28 of nine individuals along the boundary of Barangays Poblacion and Aringay in Kabacan; and the killing on August 24 of former Carmen PNP chief, Major Joan Resurrecion.

Catamco told media she has given marching orders to authorities to arrest those behind the two crimes and put them behind bars the soonest.

The governor told media here her leadership is bent to continue with its mission to rescue locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) to be able to come home to North Cotabato.

To date, at least 17,000 LSIs and ROFs were rescued by the LGU’s Task Force Sagip Stranded North Cotabatenos since its launch this April.

Of the number, at least 85 percent were LSIs and the rest, ROFs.

The highest number of rescued Cotabatenos were residents of Midsayap and Kidapawan City, the province’s capital, according to the Task Force.

Earlier, Dr. Philbert Malaluan of the Cotabato Province’s Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, said that since the rescue mission had begun, they have not monitored any local transmission of the virus. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)