Sunday Jun, 13 2021 02:33:36 AM

Sultan Kudarat IPs want NPAs out of tribal domain

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NEWS • 09:30 AM Wed Feb 17, 2021
John M. Unson
The indigenous people in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat want the NPAs out of their villages. (6th ID Public Affairs Office)

SULTAN KUDARAT --- The military on Wednesday urged peace advocacy groups to listen to wishes of indigenous communities for the New People’s Army to leave their ancestral domains where rebels rule with impunity.

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Wednesday the 6th ID is thankful to local government units in central Mindanao that have lately been active in helping drumbeat the sentiments of IP constituents ranting on the presence of NPAs in their villages.

Uy cited as example the feats of the provincial government of North Cotabato in initiating ecurity interventions essential to maintaining law and order in IP-dominated hinterlands in the province.

The governor of North Cotabato, Nancy Catamco, a member of the Ubo-Manobo community, has teams in her office focused on diplomatic initiatives meant to address security issues besetting local IP communities.

Uy said Catamco has been presiding over peace dialogues in IP communities under her jurisdiction in a bid to insulate their communities from infiltration by rebels to prevent them from being caught in the crossfire each time there are government offensives against NPAs.

Hundreds of Dulangan-Manobo people held last Saturday an indignation rally in Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat province to denounce the activities of NPAs in their ancestral lands.

They ranted about the collection of revolutionary taxes by NPAs and the interference by rebels on the operation of duly-constituted barangay governments in their tribal communities supposedly protected by the Indigenous People’s Rights Act, also known as Republic Act 8371.

The Republic Act 8371 assures IP communities of rights to self-determination and privilege to govern duly-recognized tribal abodes based on their cultures and traditions.

Police and military records from between 2010 to 2020 indicated that, in central Mindanao alone, 19 IPs vocal about the atrocities by NPAs have been killed while four others went missing during the period.

“We ought to listen to the IPs who want peace in their ancestral lands,” Uy said Wednesday.  

Uy said peace advocacy groups can help ventilate the sentiments of affected IPs.

Tribal groups in provinces covered by 6th ID have burned NPA flags in one gathering after another in the past three years to manifest objection to the presence of communist rebels in their highland enclaves.

Uy said NPAs in central Mindanao have a reputation for venting ire on IPs for losses in clashes with pursuing state security forces.


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