By Mike Crismundo
BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur – More than 900 persons, mostly lumads (natives), benefited from the community outreach program that was conducted by the Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office (PRO 13) on Wednesday, November 14, in the far-flung barangay of San Marcos, Bunawan town, Agusan del Sur province.
San Marcos and neighboring areas are communities mostly inhabited by the Manobo tribe.
No less than Chief Supt. Giberto DC Cruz, regional director of PRO 13 spearheaded his command and other top field commanders in the region and Agusan del Sur province during the outreach program.
Local government officials, led by Bunawan town Mayor Edwin G. Elorde, also participated the big event in the highland communities of that town.
Members of the Manobo tribe were accorded free medical and dental check-up, circumcision, tooth extraction, haircut, distribution of food packs, school supplies and slippers, and mass feeding.
The Mascots of Tatay Digong (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) and Kuya Bong Go (former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go), also entertained the residents.
“We are here to make the indigenous peoples (IPs) feel that the government is working for them and that the uniformed personnel are their friends and partners for peace,” Cruz said.
It was the seventh community outreach program undertaken by PRO 13 ever since Cruz assumed his post, and most of the recipient communities were situated in far-flung areas seldom reached by the government services.
Around 80 pupils from the Manobo tribe were filled with joy as they received the food packs, goods and toys. They even performed cultural dances before the troops as expression of gratitude.
“For most children along the Agusan Marsh, they have to paddle a boat going to school. We truly feel the hardships they have to endure. Somehow, in our own little way, they will see that the government is always reaching out for them,” Cruz said.
The region’s top cop also urged the lumads to support the government that is working to improve their lives.