SITIO LOGDECK, BRGY MARAGATAS, LUPON – Local residents of Sitio Logdeck decry claims of certain groups using them as supposed victims of a government project which these groups have branded as a ploy in order to allow mining operations in their community. Herminigildo Marianito, speaking as Sitio Leader of said community, stated that: “Nalipay gani mi sa pagtrabaho sa among kalsada ug maningkamot mi nga makatabang para mas mapadali ang pag human ani nga project” (We are even happy that they are working on our road and we will try our best to provide assistance in order to hasten the completion of this project).
According to these groups, the Local Government Unit of Lupon, which facilitated the project, is only doing the undertaking in order to allow mining companies to operate in the community. Ironically, the economy of communities to be benefited by the project is all based in agriculture. There have been reports that certain groups have indeed conducted exploration activities in the area for possible mining operations but none of them was able to push through with their plans. Recently, a mining operation in adjacent area known as Chromite has ceased to operate after their permit from the government expired. This mining operation utilized the road networks coming from Banay-banay and Pantukan towns and has not encroached the area of Sitio Logdeck from the time they begun operation up to its end. No mining permit has been issued to any company by any government entity that applies to Sitio Logdeck and its nearby communities.
Residents of the community have been very supportive of the project as it was something that they have been dreaming of for a long time. They have even volunteered to clear the area where the road will pass in order to hasten the completion of the said project. Before the project, they relied on single “habal-habal” motorcycles as primary means of transportation. One person pays one hundred fifty pesos each excluding baggage. Their produce (corn, copra, charcoal etc.) which they sell either in Banay-banay or in Lupon is charged at around two pesos per kilo. Once the road is completed, these expenses are expected to lessen as bigger vehicles will be able to go to the area.
The community of Logdeck was formerly a mass base of New People’s Army’s Front 18. For several years, the NPA’s were the ones running the affairs of the community. In 2010, the NPA Anniversary was celebrated in the Sitio. Upon the arrival of 28th Infantry Battalion in Davao Oriental, the Sitio and its immediate vicinity became battlefields as these NPA bandits refuse to let go of their control of the community. In January 2012, combined forces of 4th Scout Ranger Company and 28th Infantry Battalion encountered a group of NPAs in Sitio Barabo of Brgy San Isidro, still of Lupon town. The NPAs retreated in Sitio Logdeck which was adjacent to the encounter site. Reports later revealed that the casualties of these encounter was treated in the area. A month later, the 28th Infantry Battalion conducted the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) in Sitio Logdeck. PDOP is the Army’s primary tool in clearing a community of NPA influence. Soldiers immerse in these communities in order for them to bring the people closer to government. At the same time, the soldiers partner with other government entities in order to address the problems of the community. In the case of Sitio Logdeck, a basketball court and a water system were constructed. The soldiers also have introduced livelihood projects such as tilapia raising and vegetable growing. The farm to market road is a long delayed request of the community which is only being implemented now. By December of this year also the Sitio will have, for the first time, electricity. All of these activities intend to address issues in the community that forces the people to support or join the insurgency. Sitio Logdeck has now changed and is now moving towards a better future which is the primary goal of PDOP and the government as a whole. They have come to understand the lies that were told to them when it was the NPA that reigned over them.
Residents of Sitio Logdeck has come up with a manifesto in order to express their true sentiments regarding the government project that was undertaken for them. They are very thankful that despite their unfortunate past with the insurgents, the government did not give up in bringing them back into her arms. More importantly, they have become partners of the government in bringing about development in their community. In October 21, they will be celebrating the Araw ng Logdeck, the anniversary of the establishment of their Sitio. With the farm to market road already completed by then and a bright future ahead, the event will have more value as a milestone of peace and development in their community.