Manobo tribe to NPAs: Stop supplanting legitimate leaders

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Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur— The Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR), his fellow tribal chieftains representing the whole Manobo tribe of Lianga, Surigao del Sur (SDS) call on the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to stop supplanting legitimate IP leaders citing that this causes divisiveness and the disintegration of their customs and traditions yesterday at barangay Diatagon, Lianga, SDS.

“Our customary laws and traditions were disrespected as the NPAs forcefully supplant legitimate tribal leaders with communist-influenced IP leaders in the far-flung sitios so they can control and advance their armed and political struggle. “Stop exploiting us, “ Hawudon Jumar S. Bucales, Lianga IPMR, said.

In the same manner, the Lianga Tribal Council of Elders issued Resolution No.1 series of 2019 dated October 29 signed by the Lianga Municipal Chieftain, Datu Constancio B. Duhac, and adopted by the Lianga Local Government Unit under Mayor Novelita M. Sarmen condemning the NPAs’ killing of certain members of the Manobo tribe who stood firm against their ideology.

The tribal council leaders call on the Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa sumusunod (MAPASU) to honor and respect the legitimate IP leadership to exercise the traditional tribal governance system based on the customary laws of the tribe and the authority of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

“You (MAPASU) must not dictate the tribal council. You must adhere to our legitimate IP leadership. You are not supreme over the tribal council of elders and you must abide by our traditional governance system. You talk about fighting for self-determination and self-governance but your group is the first to violate our customary laws by defying the tribal council elders,” Datu Duhac, said.

The MAPASU has resorted to lobby the support of Bayan Muna partylist representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat, the sister of Pablito Sinzo Campos (alias Batik), the Communist NPA top propagandist and root cause of terror in Agusan and Surigao provinces who was nabbed by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and the PNP last February 2018.

The tribal council of elders has steadfastly and repeatedly stated that not even Cullamat could dictate them because she is not the legitimate IP representative citing that being a political leader does not necessarily equate to legitimate IP traditional leader.

The council further urged Cullamat to focus on crafting laws that will benefit the IPs instead of using her authority and privilege as a Congresswoman to discredit the government and the military in the IP communities during her privilege speeches.

“If she is really for the welfare of the IP Community, then she must support the President’s Whole of Nation Approach to end the local communist armed conflict and instead condemn the NPAs not the military and the government,” the tribal council said.

The IP Council urged the IP communities not to join or attend any CPP/NPA-oriented activities such as bakwit and any violent tactical offensives targeting government troops and defenseless civilians just to highlight the CPP’s founding anniversary on December 26.

“They should have no reason to celebrate any anniversary because their existence has made the IP community and the whole country divided. They brought shame and dishonor to our country,” the tribal council, ended.