A top military official in Caraga Region said education remains a key factor in saving indigenous people (IP) children and youth from the influence and recruitment of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde), lauded on Tuesday the collaborative efforts of various government agencies and the local government units (LGUs) in Agusan del Sur for facilitating the Mobile Computer Literacy (MCL) training of the IP youths in the area.
A total of 21 IP youths from Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, who belong to the Higaonon tribe, are now undergoing the 30-day MCL training that started on Oct. 28 this year.
The 402Bde provided a mobile computer laboratory in Esperanza town where the 21 IP youths can have hands-on experience on computers during the training’s 30-day duration.
The mobile computer laboratory is a 40-footer, fully air-conditioned container van with 21 sets of computers stationed inside Esperanza National High School’s premises.
“The IP youths in Caraga are considered most vulnerable from the manipulation and deception of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG),” Licudine said.
He added that the government is engaged in various interventions in IP communities to prevent the NPA from exploiting the vulnerabilities of the tribal communities.
“The government, through the whole-of-nation approach, has been filling the gaps and the lack of opportunities and access of the IPs to basic services, including their children and the youth,” Licudine said.
He said the computer literacy program would further strengthen the government’s efforts, particularly the LGU, in shielding the IP youth from the recruitment of the communist rebel movement.
“This computer literacy program will allow our IP youth to find decent jobs in the future and help them become productive members of their communities,” Licudine said.
The ongoing computer literacy program is also being supported by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Education (DepEd), and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), he said.
“The convergence of our efforts and resources will help defeat insurgency and turn IP communities in Agusan del Sur free from communist armed conflicts,” Licudine said. (PNA)