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  • Writer's pictureBalbalan LGU

Balbalan rebukes misinformation on Kabataan Party-list’s relief drive

Balbalan, Kalinga – The municipal government of Balbalan has denounced circulating relief drive online with ‘misinformed claims that might have been made due to negligence or with just plain intent to mislead.’

In its July 05 Facebook post, Kabataan Party-list, in coordination with Timpuyog dagiti Mannalon ti Kalinga (TMK) and Serve the People Brigade, asked the public for monetary donations to supposedly aid farmers in Gawa-an and Posway villages of Balbalan, ‘who have suffered from severe food crop losses.’

The party list claimed that the barangays were placed under siege since February.

“Last March, the tribes of Salegseg, Gubang, and Mabaca were unable to farm due to restrictions imposed on them by Philippine Army troops. Their ancestral lands were also under attack through indiscriminate aerial bombings and artillery firing as their locality, Balbalan, has been declared as a focus state of counter-insurgency operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said the group.

Specifically, the party list asked for money to be used to purchase 241 relief packs containing ‘rice, cooking oil, dried fish, bagoong, canned goods, salt, sugar, biscuits, and hygiene kits.’

Misinformed claims

In response to inquiries made to his office, Mayor Almar Malannag on Monday, June 10, released a statement, rebuking ‘misinformed claims.’

According to the Office of the Mayor, no actual encounter between the military and the members of the New People's Army (NPA) transpired in said areas, as confirmed by the investigation team from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) led by Atty. Joecle R. Dongla.

‘No evidence of indiscriminate bombings’

Dongla, on their April 03, 2023 report, said there was no evidence of indiscriminate bombings during the military operations.

What exploded near the Gawaan Elementary School and nearby residential areas was white phosphorous which is used as a military marker that signifies the limit of military operations in a particular area, as explained by Lt. Ferdinand Pulalon, the Civil-Military Operations Officer of the 50th Infantry "Defender" Battalion.

“Plainly looking at the area alone will confirm the absence of bombs or any damage that could have resulted from bombings near the schools or the residence,” the mayor added.

Villages NOT under siege

Malannag further belied the group’s claim that the barangays are under siege. Only reasonable restrictions, he said, were imposed in some parts where farmers were limited in their access to their farms for their own safety.

The town likewise clarified that back then, the local government unit, including the provincial government of Kalinga, and government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and Department of Health took immediate action to provide the basic needs of those affected. These efforts gained commendation from the CHR.

“The affected communities still need our support and all our efforts should be focused on extending it as and when needed and not on spreading misinformation,” concluded the mayor.


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