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Tuesday, July 30, 2019, 06:51 (GMT+7)
Economic - Defense Unit 338 - A strong fulcrum for border people

Economic - Defense Unit 338, under the Military Region 1, is responsible for developing Mau Son Economic - Defense Project in five border districts of Lang Son province with an area of ​​over 1,200km2. Over the past years, the unit has always overcome all difficulties to well perform the functions of combat readiness and participation in socio-economic development and coordinated with the local Party committees and authorities in strengthening the political system, building residential areas and infrastructure, and supporting production, hunger eradication, poverty reduction, and people's health care, ... that have created favorable conditions for the people to feel secure in settling in along the border lines and milestones and contributed to building a strong all-people defense. The Unit is actually a strong fulcrum for the local Party committees, authorities, and people at the top of the North.

Snr Col Ta Duc Thanh inauguration ceremony of a new road project

Economic - Defense Unit 338 stations and performs tasks in the region with nearly 99% of ethnic minority people who are suffering from difficult economy and backward customs and practices. Meanwhile, their awareness of defense and security associated with economic development is still limited. In the face of such fact, the Unit Party Commission and commanders have focused on leading and directing to do well the mass mobilization work, focusing on promoting propaganda, education, and raising awareness, consciousness, and responsibility of the people on implementing economic - defense tasks and participating in building a strong political system. Thoroughly grasping and implementing the Party's resolutions, especially Resolution No. 1375-NQ/ĐU of the Military Region 1 Party Commission on "Strengthening and renewing the Party's leadership on the mass mobilization work in the new situation", annually, the Unit has actively studied to write articles and provide propaganda materials to local and grassroots mass media systems. The content mainly focuses on propagating about the Party's lines, undertakings, and policies and the State's laws, especially the combination between economy and national defense and security and local economic development programs and projects associated with defense; new rural construction; and unmasking the conspiracy and strategy of the "peaceful evolution" and promoting "self-evolution" and "self-transformation" of hostile forces, etc. Along with that, the Unit has coordinated with the local Party committees and authorities to hold regular meetings with village elders, village leaders, and prestigious people in the community and mobilized schools and mass organizations to regularly exchange and twin with the Unit. Thereby, it has helped create good feelings and solidarity and grasp the situation and aspirations of the community to take propaganda measures for well implementing the ideological work with the people. Concurrently, the people support activities have been strengthened, that have contributed to improving the material and spiritual life of the people in the project areas.

Implementing the project on "Enhancing young intellectual volunteers to work at economic-defense zones in the period of 2010 - 2020", the Unit has recruited and trained 104 members and assigned to production teams in communes to survey the local socio-economic situation, guide and propagate the people in the fields of breeding, cultivation, sanitation, epidemic prevention, health care, and implementation of civilized and healthy lifestyle, ... and participate in special propaganda, that have brought high efficiency. Since 2010, the Unit has organized 40 film presentation shows for about 13,600 people, 69 special propaganda sessions for nearly 6,000 people, and medical examination and treatment for tens of thousands of people with nearly VND 400 million in value of free medicine allocated to the people. At the same time, the Unit has also coordinated with local authorities, departments, and unions to sign regulations on coordination of work and attaching the implementation of economic - defense and security tasks with the construction of areas. Besides, it has actively advised and assisted the locality in building, consolidating, and improving the quality of activities of socio-political organizations; participated in fostering defense and security knowledge for the people in border areas; and trained on the area management and professional skills for the officials of communes, villages, and hamlets. As a result, the Unit has helped the locality to build, consolidate, and complete 30 organizations of Youth union, Women’s union, and veterans; trained and retrained for 23 village nurses; and built and trained the initial surgical and rescue teams (including 12 commune-level health workers), ... to improve the political quality and capacity of the grassroots health care system, contributing to strengthening the local defense and security posture.

In order to create a foundation in the implementation of combination of economy with national defense and firmly protecting the sovereignty and national border security, the Unit has strengthened the implementation of projects associated with economic development to help people eradicate hunger and reduce poverty. Based on the planning of the economic-defense zones and the investment roadmap approved by the superiors, the Unit has actively developed plans and implemented projects on protection forest and border belt forest plantation, infrastructure construction, and production support, and settlement, etc. to ensure sustainable economic development in association with strengthening national defense in each period. During the implementation process, the Unit has clearly defined that the areas for population development, production, forestation, and infrastructure systems must be associated with military works and be suitable with the defensive zones.

The people within the project live in scattered and mountainous areas where traffic conditions are still difficult, while the people's life is mostly self-sufficient, and industrial production, tourism, and services have been unexploited. In such situation, the Unit has actively cooperated with Lang Son Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to organize surveys, prepare technical design documents, and implement forest plantation and tending projects and conducted acceptance and handover of forests to the people for protection to ensure greening bare land and hills and contribute to environmental protection, forest economy development, and creation of jobs for the local people. Additionally, the implementation of projects on production support, hunger eradication, and poverty reduction suitable with the locality and farming practices of the people have been promoted. Following the motto of "Listening to the people, telling the people to understand, making the people believe, and guiding the people to follow", the Unit has directed the farms, plantations, production teams, and young intellectual volunteers to advise the Party committees and commune authorities to restructure agriculture, build and replicate models such as Indian mulberry (Ba Kich) tree plantation, passion fruit plantation, or breeding cow and commercial pig feeding, etc. The Unit has donated breeding cows to poor households as production capital, supported households to buy livestock breeds, supplied seedlings and fertilizers, and guided cultivation techniques and urge people to implement, ... that have helped poor, and nearly-poor households and those just  escaping from poverty to increase their incomes and advance to sustainable poverty escape.

338 Unit giving cows for the poor

In addition, the Unit have coordinated with local forces in clearing bombs, mines, and explosives and expanding cultivated land; constructing initial infrastructure; supporting with finance, production tools, cultivation techniques, ... bringing people to settle down in old villages and hamlets close to the border, ensuring the restoration, development, and distribution of population in accordance with the regional economic development planning and defense layout; creating a stable "hedge" on the border belt, contributing to strengthening the grassroots political system and ensuring a solid national defense posture. Another notable point is that the Unit has actively coordinated with local authorities to conduct surveys and develop a master plan on rural infrastructure construction; prioritized the construction of important and urgent projects, such as transport systems, irrigation systems, clean water works, or essential works in concentrated population quarters, etc. contributing to promoting economic development and gradually stabilizing the people's lives. Since 2010, the Unit has invested over VND 181 billion in planting 993 ha of forest in 3 districts of Dinh Lap, Loc Binh, and Cao Loc; supported settlement in place for 3 households, relocation of 49 households to build 3 new concentrated residential areas, and construction of 6 clean water works, over 28 km of rural roads, nearly 40 km of water channels, and 35 kV power transmission line, ... serving the lives of thousands of households in the area. In 2018, the Unit spent over VND 2.5 billion to support people to plant 4 ha of Indian mulberry and 3 ha of passion fruit and donated 35 cows for 35 families and 200 breeding pigs for 40 families. Such investment has changed the thought, way of thinking, and working style of the people and promoted household economy to develop effectively and sustainably. Income of the people in the area increased 10 times compared to 1999; the number of poor households decreased to nearly 31%, and that of nearly-poor households decreased to nearly 7.5%.

Along with that, the Unit has focused on implementing defense and military work and participating in maintaining political security, social order, and safety. In order to truly be the fulcrum for the locality to deal with the initial situations of defense, the Unit has strengthened management and arranged staff and technical and professional officials who can well meet the tasks of training and combat readiness; strictly commanding, office, and mobile duty regimes; and ensured the highest number of troops for the combat readiness squad. At the same time, the Unit has regularly developed and consolidated the system of combat documents and coordinated with the locality to organize training and maneuvers, especially maneuvers for mobilizing reserve troops according to regulations. In parallel with that, the Unit strengthened the management and firmly grasped the reservist source; improved the quality of reservist training and Frame B training; directed units to coordinate with the commune and district military commands to train and improve the military and political level for the militia and self-defense forces to meet the increasing demands in combat readiness. In recent years, in the project area, the situation of crime and social evils, such as gambling, drug addiction, human trafficking across borders, smuggling, and illegal labor have been quite complicated. To solve this problem, the Unit has regularly participated in exchanging information, coordinated with the armed forces in the area, and firmly grasped the situation of hostile, reactionary, and dissatisfied forces and types of crimes, especially acts of infringing upon security and defense. Thereby, the Unit has advised the local Party committees and authorities to intervene early and remotely and definitely solve the cases of large disputes and complaints or complex issues related to several levels, sectors, and objects, such as land violations, exploitation of natural resources, deforestation, ... not to let bad elements create excuses and incite division of national solidarity, ensuring security and stability in the region. In addition, the Unit has coordinated with Public Security forces and Border Guard stations in fighting and preventing drug crimes in key areas and localities with national highways, provincial roads, and many border trails and open paths, especially the communes of Cao Lau and Xuat Le (Cao Loc district), Tam Gia and Yen Khoai (Loc Binh district), and Binh Xa (Dinh Lap district); struggled with evils of gambling, illegal lotteries, and drug addiction; and monitored and limited people to illegally work on the other side of the border, ... to ensure safety for people to live.

After more than 20 years of construction, development, and operation, in the spirit of "not afraid of difficulties; learning from doing", Economic - Defense Unit 338 has always completed its assigned tasks, along with the Party committees and authorities in Lang Son province, to build a solid "hedge" and maintain sovereignty and security in the border area.

Senior Colonel Ta Duc Thanh, Commander of the Unit

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