PANUBIGAN, CANLAON CITY ——The townsfolk of Canlaon city and the hinterlands told the local and regional government personnel, all kinds of tales of woes generally indicating that the absence of the real presence of government has caused those who are fighting to topple the administration, to take advantage of such government absence and has sown discord and confusion among the people as to whom to believe: The right or the left.
Many also expressed fear that when government forces pulled out that afternoon, the people are left with elements who cannot also assure their safety and security. All they want is government presence, and availability to serve the real needs of the people, and run to for help, on a daily basis.
On one hand, the apparent full force of the regional military government officers from Cebu went on a one-day blitz April 13 as if government ‘s absence can be compensated with the one-day medical mission and dialogue in contrast to the persistent presence of anti-government elements who are in constant touch with the masses.
Meanwhile, as most people observed, the full force of the regional team sailed back for Cebu in the afternoon on board a Coast Guard vessel and left Canlaon as it was in the beginning. Many people asked: what did their presence do to solve the problem of apparent civilian restlessness?
So what was done in one quick day of April 13 at Panubigan gymnasium:
139 male circumcisions; 112 dental works, 150 eye checkups, 227 consultations, 8 minor surgeries, 40 massage therapy, 121 haircuts, 45 manicures, 112 anti-cervical cancer vaccinations, 220 given vitamins and medicine, 500 given slippers, 50 basketballs donated, 500 anti-drug flyers, gave 220 candies and chocolates, 150 dental hygienes given, 120 kids got stuff toys.
And so the problem was solved? And off the good guys went back to Cebu.
In the dialogue that ensued the issue of land reform was topmost aired by most of the people. This means that land to the landless is an issue and has yet to be solved by the government in Canlaon city.
CARL Land reform law was not acted in Patria Vina Estate; Universal Equity Land tenants in Bgy Lumapao and other DAR project contracts were questioned. DAR personnel explained their side why the decades of delay since CARL was passed as a law decades ago.
People reported that elements of Karapatan and Gabriela lectured them on policies which did not jibe with that of government policies. People in Canlaon are confused and living in fear. Some people were told that they were next in line of police operations.
Yet government countered by saying all these were false. It was their presence that people wanted desperately. But most of them were gone by sundown.
And where were the local government people? Why do many people not run to the LGU for help?
Of course present were Mayor Jimmy Clerigo; Engr Manuel Galon Jr, DAR local chief; Phil Salindo CENRO OIC, And Emilia Demafeles, PESO employment officer in Canlaon who did not have jobs to offer the people.
Attending were 400 barangay folks from 8 barangays chairpersons of Canlaon and 12 purok leaders. For security reasons, the 8 barangay captains attending requested anonymity, for fear of reprisals when government elements pulled out at sundown.
The PNP units present were: Team PRO 7, Health service 7 and NHQ, Regional crime lab 7, 65th SAC and 6th SAF, RIU 7 and EOD k9 region 7.
Present were major military personnel: 347 from PNP, 41 AFP, 29 coast guard, PDEA 3, dar4, CENRO 1, IPHO 12, PESO Canlaon 22.
By sundown, 75 of the military personnel boarded coast guard BRP 4406 Suluan and the rest took the road. (Reported in part by Edliberto Barabas EURAOBA-III, provincial PNP info officer)