Malaybalay City – Soldiers under 403rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade, in collaboration with Malaybalay City LGU, CSWDO of Malaybalay City, DepEd, and the teachers, faculty, and staff of the beneficiary school, conducted a Feeding Program at BCT Elementary School in Brgy. Impalambong, Malaybalay City around 9:00 am, February 17, 2017. A total of 456 children of said school composed of Kindergarten to Grade 6 pupils benefitted from the program, which is aimed at assisting the Department of Education in combatting malnourishment among its pupils. As of this date, there is a total of 16 pupils of said school who are undernourished.
The 403rd Infantry Brigade of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division together with the different local government units and agencies regularly conduct the Feeding Program in different schools in support to the Department of Education’s “Adopt a School” Program. The program is also part of the Community Support Program “Kalayaan” of the AFP, which is aimed at facilitating the resolution of local issues in the community. It is regularly conducted in far-flung barangays where the Community Support Teams of the brigade through its line units are deployed.
Among which are Barangays Manalog and Kibalabag of Malaybalay City, where only recently, three (3) soldiers of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion facilitating the program were brutally murdered by the NPA terrorists. It can be recalled that among those soldiers who were brutally murdered last February 1, 2017, around 3:00 pm, was Sgt Owen B. Yee. He was an advocate of the Feeding Program of the 8th Infantry Battalion and was able to serve hundreds of Lumad children in the municipality of Impasugong and Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.
The Feeding Program is a testament to the Philippine Army’s commitment to contribute to addressing the concerns of the people through collaboration with other government agencies. In a statement, COL ERIC C VINOYA INF (GSC) PA, Commander, 403rd Infantry Brigade, 4ID, PA, commended the troops for their service and urged the people to work together in finding peaceful solutions to local issues instead of using terroristic and violent acts.
“I congratulate our troops who, despite NPA attacks, still continue to fulfill the Army’s commitment to serving the people through our Community Support Program. BCT Elementary School is only one of our beneficiary schools under this program. Our line units, particularly the 1st Special Forces Battalion, the 8th Infantry Battalion and the 58th Infantry Battalion, are also conducting the same program in various IP dominated areas in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental Provinces in collaboration with local government units and government agencies.
Contrary to the false accusations of the NPA leaders that our troops are doing psywar and intimidation, we do this program and many other activities that are beneficial to the community. We now challenge the NPA, especially their leaders, that if they are truly for the people, then they should join us in this undertaking. Otherwise, their intentions would be very clear – they would just victimize our people by capitalizing on local issues and using these things in order to agitate the people, arm them, and let them fight the government for their ill causes of extortion and intimidation.” – says COL VINOYA.