Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo has directed the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office to extend all possible assistance to the families of the fallen members of the New Peoples’s Army (NPA) who died in the latest encounter against the Philippine Army in Sitio Makasa-kasa, Barangay Balayong, Pamplona last month.
During the said encounter, two members of the NPA were killed, one was wounded and captured and another one, a 19-year old female, surrendered to the authorities a few days after the said incident.
Governor Degamo instructed PSWD Officer Alice Lagarde to take care of the needs of the families left behind by the two NPA comrades most particularly the burial assistance to be taken from the regular Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) fund of the provincial government.
The governor, however, clarified this is not to give special preference to the members of the NPA but it is part of the direction of the provincial government to take care of the needs of the people in distress regardless of their belief, color, ideologies and political affiliations.
“The provincial government does not choose who to help because its mandate is to serve all the people whom it promised to serve wherever they come from, whatever their beliefs are and whatever their political affiliations. I am the governor for both those who voted for me as well as those who did not vote for me in the last elections,” the governor said.
Governor Degamo added the provincial government cannot afford to choose whom to extend assistance especially now that the province has been cleared as conflict manageable and development ready.
He said we need to pursue serious efforts in order to win the hearts and minds of the people so they will no longer be enticed to support ideologies which advocate anti-government movements.
“We cannot afford to have our people to be divided because this is anti-development. We need to focus our attention to bring about the needed developments to our people in order to have a community where the people live healthily, peacefully and happily,” the governor said.
Meanwhile, Governor Degamo also instructed Ms. Lagarde to coordinate with the 79th IB of the Philippine Army on the repair of the house of Winefreda Rabor and the possibility of her availing of financial assistance from the provincial government.
The governor recognized the need to provide assistance to the owner of the house which became the hideout of the NPA members for a few days and which was damaged during the encounter.
Earlier, both the governor and the army have vowed to provide assistance to the owner of the house and to the members of the NPA.