TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army has expanded its books and school supplies donation drive, covering a remote campus in Catubig, Northern Samar, in a bid to help communities suppress the insurgency.

BOOK DRIVE. Beneficiaries of books and school supplies donation drive in Roxas village in Northern Samar. The Philippine Army has expanded the initiative in a bid to help suppress the insurgency.
(Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

The donation drive in Roxas village that benefitted 400 learners and out-of-school youth is the fourth school reached by the Philippine Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion (IB).
Lt. Col. Joemar Buban, 20th IB commander, said Friday they donated on July 2 storybooks, school supplies, slippers, and bags containing small toys and goodies. They also turned over reference textbooks to the school teachers of Roxas Elementary School.
After the distribution of gift packs, conduct of parlor games, and storytelling, soldiers also initiated a feeding program that catered to almost the entire village, composed of 290 families with a total population of 1,648.

Dubbed as KinaBOOKasan Project, the initiative is in its second year of reaching conflict-affected areas and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas since its launch in December 2021.

“This project showcases the commitment to helping the student sector, which is usually exploited and became a victim of the deceptive recruitment of the New People’s Army (NPA), as it aims to put a premium on the continuous learning of the students amidst the challenges of poverty and insurgency,” Buban said.

Launched in December 2021, the project has already covered Rizal Elementary School in Rizal village in Las Navas, Northern Samar; Siljagon Elementary School in Siljagon village, Mapanas, Northern Samar; San Jorge Elementary School in San Jorge village in Las Navas, Northern Samar; and Roxas Elementary School in Roxas village in Catubig, Northern Samar.

Roxas village is situated 15 kilometers away from Catubig town center and can be reached through a five-minute motorboat ride and another one-hour single motorcycle ride. The village is hardly accessible during rainy days.

The community is considered one of the conflict-affected villages and was infiltrated by the NPA in Northern Samar through intimidation and extortion. (PNA)