BORONGAN CITY (PIA) -- The Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) in Eastern Samar immediately provided relief operations to the two conflict-stricken barangays of Dolores town.
On August 20, members of the PTF ELCAC traveled to the remote barangays, Jicontol and Osmeña, two of the nearer barangays to the firefight between government forces and the rebels.
The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) brought food packs to some 600 families in the barangays.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) also provided food packs with almost the same contents of rice, canned goods and noodles, to this, the OCD added a box of hygiene kits for each family.
The hygiene kit revealed towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, wipes and other health care products.
A civil society organization led by ‘Mayang,’ a former rebel, also delighted the children when Jeff Jalalon, one of the volunteers with some women-soldiers distributed candies and toys.
Children also excitedly claimed colorful slippers that brought smiles to their faces.
Risa Brosas, a resident of Brgy. Osmeña could not lift the sack with all the goods, she jested, “pantanggal hit kulba.”
The residents said they feared that the firefight could spill to their homes.
Punong Barangay Diomedes Roncales said he had to do a ‘bandilyo’ (some sort of town crier public address) to assure their residents that they will be safe if they just stay at home or in the barangay.
As they were worried about their daily food, LGU Dolores through Shonny Niño Carpeso also came two days after the encounter and gave out food packs.
He thanked the community for the relevant and timely information they shared about the NPA’s lair.
Rural physician Dr. Romel Amos extended medical consultation while the provincial government provided the medicines.
Tita Aclon, 52, said “Tidulhog na ak hat, maupay nala kinanhi kamo.” (I was about to go to town for a check-up, it’s good that you came.)
Dr. Amos’s patients came in different ages, some very young, some very old.
They came in droves, but they were all served patiently and were given free medicines. At least a hundred rural residents had their medical consultation.
Punong Barangay Abdon Godes of Brgy. Of Jicontol said he is forever thankful that his people were given relief goods.
Lt. Col. Lenart Lelina, deputy commander of the 801st Brigade, assured them that they will assess the security situation so that the locals can go back to their normal lives.
One elderly couple thanked the officials for their goods.
"Duduha nala kami, maiha-iha manggad ini namon nga pagkaon (Our food will be enough to feed us both until this is over)," said the octogenarian.
Most residents were concerned of their ‘kahayupan’ or work animals like carabaos.
Locals would allow their carabaos to graze in the grasslands, they check on them early morning and late afternoons.
Others had started gathering coconuts for copra, but had to leave the coconuts when the firefight started.
They themselves justified that their lives are more important than the coconuts left waiting to be processed into copra.
The Serbisyo Caravan lasted for a few hours, and for the locals, they feel that concern for them, that the government cares.
The caravan members assured them they will return, they will bring more services, what the locals needed for them to turn a new leaf and to forget that one day they experienced the scare of their lives but the caring arms of the government eased the fear in their hearts. (NBQ/PIA-8/Eastern Samar)