Wednesday, 19 May 2021
Wednesday, 28 April 2021 08:49

Rebels evaporate as military, govt charm Kinam with basic services

MALAPATAN, Sarangani (April 28, 2021) – A newly-opened, long and winding road going to the hinterlands of barangay Kinam has paved the way for developmental projects and government services to pour into the now rebel-free community.

The road-opening project that started in 2020 was initiated by the partnership of the 52nd Engineer Brigade-512th Engineer Construction Battalion and the local governments of Malapatan and Sarangani province with the goal of bringing to an end the decade-long armed conflict between New People’s Army rebels and government troops in Kinam.

The road project is one of the responses to the mandate of President Rodrigo Duterte thru Executive Order No. 70 institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or ELCAC.

With this project, Kinam transforms from being a rebel-infested community back in the 90s to being one of the three upland barangays in Malapatan and among the 16 far-flung communities in Sarangani to have been “cleared” from the clutches of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army or CPP-NPA, according to the military.

Malapatan Mayor Salway Sumbo Jr. recalled that way back when he was still the barangay chairman of Kinam, the community was infiltrated by the communist minds of the NPA rebels which brought turmoil to the community and caused numerous buildings in Kinam being burned and military camps being ransacked.

Through the collaborative effort of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the government, and the residents themselves, former rebels in Kinam have surrendered and returned to the fold of the law, and even volunteered to become members of “Bagani” who are assisting the military in guarding the villages against illegal activities of the communist groups attempting to disturb the peace and order of the community.

These FRs have received initial support from the government and are yet to receive more benefits as they are set to be enrolled in the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Kinam was once one of the farthest and most hard-to-reach barangays in Sarangani that it would take farmer residents half-a-day of 23 river-crossings via horse-riding and walking in bringing their products of copra, corn, abaca, and upland rice to the market.

Tata Sinon, 33, a farmer from Sitio Masandig, lamented that back then, half of their products would be damaged and go to waste whenever the river swells and they get stranded for days due to the flooding.

With the road now opened in the uplands, it would only take a 20 to 30-minute ride from Kinam to Daan Suyan via motorcycle or pick-up truck.

Mayor Sumbo said farmers and teachers now would no longer ride horses, traverse the river 23 times, and face danger along the way.

Sumbo said “ang inyong mga pag-ampo nga unta mahatagan na ug hustisya, nga dili na sige’g baktas, nga dili na mangamatay tong mga tao nga naigo ug mga sakit, ma-stranded lang sa kilid sa sapa ug dili na kadiritso sa ospital,” as he thanked the religious leaders who unceasingly prayed for Kinam.

“Gi-priority gyud nato ang kadalanan kay para sa ako, kung walay dalan, magpabilin gihapon ang kalisod sa atong pangabuhi,” Sumbo said.

On behalf of all the people of Kinam, Mayor Sumbo expressed his gratitude for the numerous projects Kinam has received from the office of Senator Manny Pacquiao, Deputy Speaker Congressman Ruel Pacquiao, Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, and other government officials.

These projects include a provincial government-funded covered court worth P4.5 million, and the newly-constructed Kinam barangay hall worth P8 million and Kinam Elementary School covered court worth P3.5 million, both funded under the office of Congressman Pacquiao.

Other projects turned over to Kinam were the Kinam National High School DepEd building worth P16 million funded under the office of Senator Manny Pacquiao, and the road project worth P5 million funded by the local government of Malapatan.

Kinam will also receive a P20 million development assistance package from the national government which according to Barangay Chairman Ruben Sumbo will be intended for the concreting of roads in the barangay.

The government officials of Sarangani also vowed to support Kinam, and the rest of the upland barangays of Malapatan to open up more roads in the hinterlands to speed up development by providing access to the most hard-to-reach areas.

Kinam is the second biggest and most populated barangay in Malapatan. It is one of the major suppliers of abaca, upland rice, copra, and corn in Sarangani province and in General Santos City.

With the road opened, farm products from Kinam would now be delivered with ease and would be of high quality and price, delivery of basic social and economic services from the government to the people is no longer hampered, and development has thrived as peace is now achieved in the community. (Jori Mae Samillano/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)

Photos of the recently-opened road going to Barangay Kinam via Barangay Daan Suyan in Malapatan, Sarangani courtesy of Malapaan Information Office.

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