66 displaced families return to their homes

THE SIXTY-SIX families from Sitio Himatagan, Barangay Agsam, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur already returned to their homes around 1:25 p.m. on Sunday.

The 291 residents evacuated their homes last week due to the alleged threat of the New People’s Army (NPA) in their area.
Capt. Francisco P. Garello Jr., the civil military operations officer of the 36th Infantry Battalion, told TIMES that on Feb. 21, a total of 180 families or 812 individuals from Sitio Ibuan, Mampi and Sitio Himatagan, Barangay Agsam were forced to flee their homes after a threat of CPP-NPA presence in the area.
Garello said the rebels fired shots toward the soldiers of the 36th Infantry Battalion in Purok 2, Sitio Ibuan, Barangay Mampi, Lanuza even when there were civilians, including women and children, around.
The families sought shelter in the Barangay Agsam gym while the local government unit distributed relief goods and medical assistance to the displaced persons.
According to Minda T. Abas, purok Leader of Sitio Himatagan, the adjacent community of Sitio Ibuan, claimed that they were forced to flee their homes when they heard reports of an impending attack by the NPA.
Lanuza Mayor Salvacion Azarcon led the distribution of relief packs to the IDPs.
“We should help each other because our soldiers are there as representatives of our government,” the mayor said.
Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, the commander of 36th IB, thanked the mayor for her role in the immediate return of the IDPs.
“Instead of giving in to the threat of the CPP-NPA terrorists, the Lanuza community, to include the Lumads in the affected barangay, acquired great resolve to totally cast away the CPP-NPA terrorist group from their communities,” Trinidad said.”
Meanwhile, the 143 families and 588 individuals coming from Sitio Ibuan, Barangay Mampi remained in Barangay Agsam gym pending clearance from the Lanuza Municipal Crisis Committee.

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