MATI, Davao Oriental, Aug 4 — The provincial government of Davao Oriental, in collaboration with the Philippine Army and other government agencies, is embarking on a comprehensive program to hasten delivery of basic services and sustain peace especially in hard-to-reach areas in the province.
Dubbed as the “Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan,” the program is aimed at putting premium on social services to address deep-seated poverty and insurgency problem.
Karen Deloso, provincial information officer, said it is a program initiated by Governor Nelson Dayanghirang for the people in areas identified as Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (Gidas). These are areas far from vital government and private resources and mostly people in the communities are vulnerable to harassment and recruitment of communist insurgents.
Deloso said the government and its partners already reached 65,000 residents in 27 villages through the holding of caravans. She said the government conducted eight caravans wherein 40 local offices and national agencies pooled resources to deliver services. The program also earned support from the private sector.
The caravan included giving of free medical, dental, legal services plus distribution of food packs, school supplies, farm tools and materials, medicines and livelihood assistance. There is also insurance registration and employment.
Deloso said legal aid for farmers, issuance of civil registry documents are crucial services which are also available in the caravan.
”The caravan has now become a perfect venue to hold advocacy campaigns, such as anti-drug abuse, road safety, and environmental protection,” she said. Deloso added that it is gearing communities towards disaster resiliency because the caravan also serves as platform for Disaster Preparedness Campaign.
Advocacy campaign on the Prevention and Countering Anti-Violent Extremism is also conducted during the caravan.
According to Deloso, this is also a way of promoting peace and sustaining the gains achieved in the government’s peace efforts. She said this geared towards transforming conflict-affected areas into thriving and sustainable communities. by integrating programs that promote economic growth and address the fundamental issues affecting lasting peace and security.
Deloso said the program will have long-term impacts on the communities such as the development of the Provincial Road Network Development Program aimed at connecting villages and towns.
So far, Deloso said he construction of three major alternate roads stretching to a total of 31.4 kilometers, traversing nine villages in Mati City and Lupon town, have commenced.