The Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) has commended the Propelling Our Inheritance Nation Through Youth Inc. (POINTY) group for assisting the children of indigenous peoples (IPs) in a conflict-affected area in Surigao del Norte.
In a statement issued on Monday (Aug. 3), Lt. Col. Ryan Charles G. Callanta of the 30IB noted the efforts of POINTY members in reaching out to the children of the Mamanwa tribe in Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit town despite the continuing threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“It was just a simple activity but its impact will inspire the youth to be a model in giving selfless service to others rather than being deceived and be recruited as a child warrior by the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs),” Callanta said.
He also assured the officers and members of POINTY of the Army’s support.
“As one of the government’s representatives let me assure everyone that 30IB, along with the other agencies, private sectors and civil societies that we are fully committed to pursue peace and provide secured environment amid this Covid-19 pandemic so that progress and development will move forward in this part of our country,” Callanta said.
Around 150 IP children in Sitio Landing received 153 sets of face masks and hygiene kits during the youth group’s outreach activity together with the 30IB troopers on Saturday (August 1).
Callanta noted that reaching Sitio Landing was not easy, as the members of POINTY had to travel through single motorcycles locally known as “habal-habal” for 30 kilometers from the national highway in Claver town.
In addition, he said the youth group also used a pump boat to cross the Magallanes River in Camam-onan and had to take another half-kilometer walk via rugged trails before reaching the said IP community
IP youth leader Nikka Mae Torres of Sitio Landing expressed gratitude to POINTY members for the services they received.
“This is the first time I saw a youth organization helping and reaching out in our community despite the hardships and difficulties in traveling before reaching here,” Torres was quoted as saying by the 30IB.
Israel M. Yabut of POINTY said their group will continue to extend help to far-flung communities in the midst of the continuing fight to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“In our own ways and capabilities, we will continue to reach out to the youths and children in the remote areas in Surigao del Norte and provide them safety kits and protection against Covid-19,” Yabut said.
He also expressed gratitude to the 30IB and the local government unit for the support they received during their outreach in Sitio Landing, which has been identified as a “supply corridor” of the communist rebels.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)