More than 1,500 residents of Barangay Catagupan and its neighboring barangays in the island town of Balabac received various government services during an inter-agency and joint civil military operations community outreach program spearheaded by the Armed Forces of the Philippines through Western Command last November 28-29.

The activity held at the Catagupan Elementary School aims to capacitate and engage communities and garnering support from the populace as Wescom pushes to sustain and strengthen the gains in counter-insurgency efforts and achieve lasting peace and development in the countryside, and contribute to broader national security objectives.

Residents received basic and essential services such as medical, dental and eye checkup, circumcision, haircut, veterinary services like deworming and anti-rabies vaccination, distribution of medicines, vitamins, hygiene kits and food packs, and national ID registration among others.

Participating government agencies included Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative, Deparent of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, and Philippine Statistics authority. From the private sector, Kiwanis Club Infinity Division 4E, Citizens’ Crime and Terrorism Watch and Palawan Eye Center also joined.

Wescom Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations (U7) Lt. Col. Isagani Nato stated that the activity is being done not only in Balabac but also in other municipalities of Palawan.

He said the outreach is part of the government’s efforts of whole-of-nation-approach to address different issues in the community.

“It so happened that Brgy. Catagupan was given priority because this is considered as a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDAS) and at the same time, Balabac is a remote island municipality that is hard to reach so government services are also seldomly delivered,” Nato explained

Meanwhile, Balabac Municipal.Disaster Risk Reduction and Management head Chan Alsad expressed gratitude to the participating agencies for the outreach program.

“Activities and programs like this prove that our government cares for us,” he said.

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