By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rdIB), together with the city government of Gingoog, in Misamis Oriental province has strengthened its partnership with the Higaonon tribe for peace and development.
The command group of 23rd IB, officials of Gingoog City, along with the tribal chieftain and sectoral leaders of the Higaonon tribe, conducted an activity dubbed “Panagtigom sa Tribung Higaonon (Higaonon Tribal Meeting)” to achieve its goals and program over the weekend held at Barangay Sangalan, Gingoog City.
Initiated by the Higaonon leaders, the issues and concerns of indigenous peoples (IP) communities, particularly on security, peace and order, were discussed with the aim of consolidating, strengthening and uniting the peace effort of the Higaonon tribe.
“The objective of this meeting is also to achieve development and reach out to the sustainable living of IPs in the area,” stressed 23rd IB commander Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo.
The meeting was also participated in by Paulo, Gingoog City Mayor Erick G. Cañosa, Vice Mayor Peter M. Unabia, Gingoog City Police Chief Lt. Col. Ariel Phillip Pontillas, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Councilor Estoriano Mandahinog, Councilor Roy Aniscal and other local officials.
Datu Budlowa, the Higaonon tribe leader, expressed optimism over the conduct of the meeting and the presence of top local government and military officials in the area.
During the meeting, Cañosa thanked the leaders of Higaonon tribe for initiating the meeting that served as a venue where the primary concerns of the tribe were openly discussed and gathered by the LGU.
He assured the members of the Higaonon tribe of the local government’s support, especially in the continuing implementation of programs and services from the city government to their communities for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace and development.
“We will do our best to address the primary and secondary problems and issues of the community, especially in the identified conflict-affected Barangays. I encourage everyone to have big involvement in addressing insurgency,” Cañosa added.