CARIGARA, Leyte- It has become a common sight in remote villages in Leyte of soldiers and policemen visiting these areas nowadays. And contrary to perceptions, these government troops are in these villages not to hunt a rebel member or of person accused of committing a crime. They are now frequently visiting these remote and far-flung villages in Leyte to help the barangay people gain some degree of literacy and in the process help them eke out a better living from poverty.

“Our goal is to cultivate synergy from stakeholders’ network for the benefit of the communities,’ Lt. James Taguic, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion based in Kananga, Leyte.

Aside from providing them the basic skills, the visiting soldiers and policemen also inform the village people of the current issues affecting them. Their presence in these villages are welcome by the villagers saying not only they can be assured of a stable peace and order situation on their respective areas but more importantly gain some knowledge and skills to help them improve their living conditions. Barangay chairwoman Aurora Quebec of Caghalo, a remote in Carigara town said: “We should be thankful that this time, the Army and the police are now in our barangay as our partners in implementing peace and order in our barangay.”

She lauded as well the troops for their discipline and for showing genuine peace and development efforts to the people.  Asterio Uribe, 57, a farmer of Brgy San Isidro said they now feel safe with the presence of both soldiers and the police. “We feel safe and we thank the soldiers and the police for their care, compassion and understanding to us residents here in the village. It cannot be matched and we are proud to have them here in our barangay,” he said. (JAZMINE BONIFACIO)