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Beneficiaries of Tabang Sinirangan Bisayas medical and mercy mission in Gamay, Northern Samar are intimidated by the presence of the elements of 34th IB

By Tabang Sinirangan Bisayas
December 18, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY    Tabang Sinirangan Bisayas, the then Tabang Samar which was initiated by the Regional People's Network for Hunger and Poverty Alleviation, supported by the National and Regional People's Organizations, church sector and individuals who are sympathetic to the dismal condition of the people particularly in the far-flung municipalities in the region is currently conducting a Medical and Mercy Mission in Gamay, Northern Samar which started on the 16th  and end on the 20th  of this month.

Gamay is a 4th class municipality in the province of Northern Samar. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 21,537 people in 4,434 households. The main source of income of the people in this area is upland farming, with coconut and palay as main crops.

Due to non-stop rains as caused by climate change, some of the areas of Gamay, Northern Samar were flooded which greatly damaged the livelihood of the people that reduced to almost half of their income.

The hunger and poverty incidence to this effect is further intensified by the plague of black bugs which destroyed most of their crops. Coupled with this, is the low price of copra and some of their products vis--vis to the high cost of commodities such as a sack of rice will now cost 1,600 pesos which previously is only 1,500. To this effect, most of the farmers are in dire state of hunger and poverty wherein they will just eat rice once or twice a day. Militarization also adds up to their already unbearable burden. Initial reports reveal that human rights violations are being committed in the area.

The initial report has reached the office that groups of beneficiaries Barangay San Jose in the Municipality of Gamay of the currently being served by Medical and Relief Mission from are being intimidated by the presence of the elements of 34th IB headed by Lt. Samuza and company. Their unnecessary presence in the conduct of the mission is causing fear and apprehensions on the part of the beneficiaries to come to the venue of the mission and avail the services offered by Tabang Sinirangan Bisayas. Consequently, their presence is hindering the attainment of our humble resolve to deliver relief and medical services to the people in the communities of Gamay. This relief mission has undertaken all necessary preparations including a formal protocol from the province and the Local Government Unit and other government agencies for the full coordination of the whole duration of the Medical and Mercy Mission and this cannot just be aborted by the harassments of the military.

Given the present state of affairs at the venue of the medical mission, Tabang Sinirangan Bisayas is urgently calling the Commanding Officer of the 34th IB of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pull out his men who are now in the area where the mercy mission is conducted, whose presence is causing insurmountable fear among the beneficiaries of Tabang Sinirangan Bisayas in Gamay. Let this be a sign of his respect for our our noble cause as prompted by the spirit of the Good Samaritan and even as we take heed to the call of Christ to serve the poor and the oppressed which is the very essence of Christmas.