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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 12, 2017
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Hotbed of insurgency no more

BRGY.CANLUSONG, EB Magalona For residents of this mountainous barangay, that is about 35 kilometers away from the town proper, the days when local armed insurgents where roaming freely are gone.

Canlusong barangay chairwoman Meriam Porras and Kagawad Raymundo Mantelensia said yesterday that residents of the barangay have been enjoying a peaceful environment for decades now, although there are still occurrences of petty crimes.

Peace and order remains stable, unlike before, Porrasclaimed.

Martelensia, a member of the defunct Civilian Home Defense Force paramilitary group, said the presence of a CAFGU detachment in Canlusongand another in nearby Brgy. San Isidro, has contributed a lot to the stable peaceful environment.

In the late 1980s, he recalled, the New People's Army stayed in the barangay for three days before transferring to another place. A large training camp of the NPA was also overran in SitioSagaban of the barangay, in those years.

But Martelensia admitted that the presence of the NPA in those turbulent years was a blessing in disguise for the residents, who managed to re-occupy the land they were tilling, which were land-grabbed by some influential individuals, who later abandoned it, due to the peace and order problem then.

But in recent years, the peaceful environment was again confronted by violence and killings, that reportedly started after the discovery of timber-poaching activities that involved families allegedly linked to armed groups.

But Porras and Martelensia said the timber poaching activities in the remaining forest cover of the barangay, which form part of the Northern Negros Natural Park, have grounded to a halt, although there are still reports of charcoal-making activities.

Porras said she is pushing for the deputation of their BantayBukid members by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Martelensia, a resident of the barangay for his entire life, and Porras, and their constituents, are calling the government to look into their perennial problemsover the road network.

During rainy season, the road is comparable to a river, with water everywhere.

Canlusong barangay residents and visitors have to experience a bumpy ride for more than one hour, before reaching the remote barangay, that is connected to Brgy. Gawahon, Victorias City, in the north, and Brgy.Patag, Silay City, in the south and SitioHiyang-Hiyang, Cadiz City in the east.

Mayor Marvin Malacon said yesterday that the municipal government has already allocated P1 million for the road concreting, starting from Brgy. San Isidro, on top of the P3 million being allocated by the national government.

The municipal government recently opened Grade 7 classes in the barangay.

Porras said she also thanked Malacon for providing them a vehicle to transport their products to the EB Magalona town proper, a day before market day which isSaturday.

Aside from the organic coffee being promoted by the municipal government of EB Magalona, EfraimPanesa, a resident of the barangay, said their source of livelihood is from rice and corn farming and other farm-related activities, as well as making brooms. * GPB



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