(SPOT.ph) Military operations in Southern Philippines are often the subject of protests for the alleged killing of Lumad leaders, causing environmental destruction, and forcing massive evacuation of residents. The purpose of these men in uniform, who are supposed to bring peace in Mindanaoan communities, is often questioned. But Staff Sergeant Narding N. Pascual, who hails from Agusan del Sur, proves that he's worthy of his title and badge.
A proud native of the local Banwaon tribe, SSg. Pascual is instrumental in implementing community development projects in his own municipality of San Luis. His persistence in connecting with the municipal government gave over 60 households in Sitio Km. 24 in Mahagsay electricity, portable radios, and light bulbs. He also initiated the planting of falcata, a sustainable source of raw material for paper and plywood, as part of a livelihood project for the locals. The plantation, which started with 6,000 seedlings, now covers four hectares in Mahagsay.
SSg. Pascual, along with Supreme Datu Napongahan, is now working towards securing a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title for the Banwaon communities. This would ensure their right to land in San Luis and Esperanza in Agusan del Sur.
For his grit and dedication, Pascual is one of this year's Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos, along with two soldiers, four teachers, and three police officers. Each awardee is set to receive a cash incentive of P1 million each, a gold medallion, and a trophy during the awarding ceremonies on September 7 at the Metrobank Plaza Auditorium, Metrobank Plaza Building, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City.