..…..Medical mission is a long overdue activity

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo will lead the team of medical personnel that will bring various medical services to the once rebel infested area of Sitio Avocado, Barangay Talalak, Santa Catalina on Wednesday, March 21.

“It is a long overdue plan of the Provincial Government to visit the area and to bring various medical services there which I believe are among the most needed by the people not only of Avocado but also those of the other neighboring Sitios such as Kakha, Omol and Mangulod, among others.” Governor Degamo said.

The medical and dental mission was originally scheduled last February 14 as a special activity of the Provincial Government during the Valentines Day celebration but Gov. Degamo decided to forego the activity as the entire provincial government was still busy attending to the needs of the earthquake victims.

The team from the Provincial Government will be joined by the Philippine Army Medical Team, the Philippine National Police and the medical personnel from the Santabayabas Interlocal Health Zone.

The team is expected to provide various services that will include free consultation and medicines and tooth extraction and circumcision, among other services. As usual, the team from the Philippine Army will also take care of some added services such as the conduct of free haircut and massage and will help in other medical services such as circumcision and tooth extraction.

Gov. Degamo said this is also his way of saying thank you to the people of Sitios Avocado, Kakha and other neighboring places of Barangay Talalak for making him the number one board member in the last 2010 elections.

If not for their support and the support of the rest of the third congressional district he could not have become the governor of the province.

Priority area

Governor Degamo said there is a need to continue the strong presence of the government in the area since it is still considered a priority area in the province of Negros Oriental by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The governor revealed that the Philippine Army reported to him of continued sightings of suspected rebels in these areas which need to be given serious attention and action by the government agencies concerned.

It had also been reported that from time to time skirmishes between the Philippine Army troops and the suspected rebels happen somewhere in the vicinity of Avocado and Kakha.

He added that while he strongly supports the activities of the AFP, the Provincial Government will also continue to provide the necessary government interventions in these once insurgency stricken areas of the municipality of Santa Catalina.

“The problem on insurgency could not be solved through military solution alone. This must be coupled with the delivery of basic services in order to address the various needs of the people in these areas.” the governor stated.

In fact, this direction is also in consonance with the direction set by the AFP through the “BAYANIHAN” program where AFP personnel are heavily involved in civic actions, information dissemination and most importantly disaster management particularly on rescue, relief and retrieval operations.

No man’s land

It maybe recalled that these areas were the hotbeds of insurgency in the early 1990’s where strong military operations forced residents to temporarily leave their homes and flee to Dumaguete City.

That incident moved the Provincial Government officialdom to carry out not an all out war but an all out development effort for the insurgency stricken areas of Avocado and Kakha.

The Provincial Government started to introduce developments such as opening of roads, establishment of schools, water systems and energization, among other developments and basic services.

In fact it is only in the Province of Negros Oriental that the Gawad Kalinga housing project was constructed in the mountains, particularly in Sitio Kakha, where 38 beneficiaries are now occupying the housing units.

Governor Degamo described all these as efforts to build strong communities in the hinterlands, where government services will be brought closer to the people, a direction set under his program of government dubbed as the Sa Probinsiya—MagDEGAMO Ta! with H-E-L-P or HELP– which means Health, Education, Livelihood Programs and Projects for peace and development as the centerpiece program. 

Meanwhile, on top of the medical and dental mission, the Provincial Government will also bring added services such as distribution of farm inputs by the Provincial Agriculture Office, animal welfare mission by the Provincial Veterinary Office and livelihood component by the Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC).

Governor Degamo said this is an avenue for the Provincial Government to provide an opportunity for the people to increase productivity and to improve their quality of lives.