BONTOC, Mountain Province – During the most difficult times, we saw the best in us. The Bayanihan spirit or “Ogogfo” in Bontoc dialect that is innate to every Cordilleran.
Time and again, we saw the innate generosity or “panag-isakit isnan ib-a” during the 30- minute gunfight between the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the government troops.
The Municipal Task Force in Empowering Local Communities to Accelerate Change (MTF-ELCAC) and Provincial Task Force –ELCAC have provided humanitarian assistance to the families of the two NPA rebels who died in an encounter with the government troops in Barangay Mainit, Bontoc, Mountain Province on September 28, 2021.
The Bontoc municipal government shouldered the embalming services of the deceased NPA combatants and the lodging services of the families and barangay officials who came to claim the cadavers of the slain rebels.
As its counterpart, the provincial government shouldered the coffins and the food of the families of the deceased.
The remains of the deceased rebel who is from Balbalan, Kalinga was claimed by his immediate families while his deceased comrade from Santa Cruz, Ilocos Sur was claimed by the barangay officials in his hometown.
Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey remarked that the culture of Og-ogfo is innate to every I-Fontok, thus, municipality shall extend help it can provide to anyone in need, regardless of race, political belief, personality, and among others.
Likewise, the mayor encouraged the NPA combatants to come down from the mountains, lay down their arms, live a normal life in the community and be with their parents and family.
It is to be noted that the government remains committed in providing financial and livelihood assistance as a start-up for rebels who decide to go back to the folds of the law and mainstream society through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). By Alpine L. Killa