Leave them alone


15740972_1315745448447510_3517651341759856396_nDAVAO Oriental is one in condemning the killing of Likid Copertino Banugan, the Mandaya tribal leader brutally murdered by the New People’s Army, which have long been trying to enter the ancestral domain of Banugan’s people in Barangay Pichon, Caraga, Davao Oriental, but have been thwarted because of Banugan’s leadership.

Regarded for his strong rule over the areas covered by the certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT-01) and in insisting that his people carry with them the culture and ways of the Mandaya, Banugan personifies the characters of a datu as they were before.

To the NPA, he was the enemy, the land grabber, and the dictator. To his people, he was the one who pushed them to celebrate their being Mandaya, putting up the annual festival in sitio Sangab and the cultural village there, successfully bringing back what was almost forgotten 18 years ago.

He also made sure that the ancestral domain is not sold to anyone and remains a communal property of the tribe, with recognition of who among the tribesfolk have rightful occupancy of a plot.

He set up the tribe’s cultural village where they still weave and make their attires and cloths and their baylans are sought out to bless whatever endeavor the community starts on.

His death, along with his brother Ramon and nephew Benny, outside his house in Caraga Poblacion was an overkill. Not only peppered with bullets from high-powered firearms, an M203 grenade was said to have been exploded at the three as well.

The brutality of the death illustrates the long-held anger the NPA has had on Banugan, the very foundation by which his people of the Mandaya tribe respect him.

Banugan’s fate underscores what the indigenous peoples have long been trying to explain to those who are trying to talk peace with the communist rebels and the Moro rebels. The fact that the IPs are held hostage by these forces, and yet, are not given a voice and a say.

Especially with regards communist rebels, which put up bases in IP areas, the IPs cannot even raise their voices against them since the rebels are armed, they are not. When they seek government help for protection, they are called spies and are killed, just like Banugan and many before him. When they arm themselves, they are called warlords and are killed, just like Banugan and many before him. When they align with the rebels, then the government forces kill them.

Banugan’s death should be the last straw. The government by this time, should understand that the IPs are not just observers, but are the one who suffer the brunt of the conflict. They are forever hostaged by the conflicts and their development is stunted forever.

Why is that? Whenever they find partners to help them develop, their partners are harassed and their leaders are killed. When they develop themselves, they are subject to militarization from both sides.

Here’s to hoping that Peace Process Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, who has been going around consulting with IPs, fully comprehend what is happening and once and for all declare all IP communities as zones of peace where they are allowed to rule their people based on their own culture and norms, without the interference and constant agitation by the communist and the militarization of the government. (Source: sunstar.com.ph)


Armed men attack Mandaya village, kill chieftain and two others



Photo source: Eden Licayan

CARAGA, Davao Oriental, January 1, 2017 – Armed men believed to be Maoist NPA terrorists attacked the Mandaya tribal village at Sitio Calapagan, Brgy. Poblacion here and murdered the tribal chieftain and two relatives about 11:30 p.m. on Friday.

Police identified the victims as Likid (Chieftain) Copertino Mabayanban Banugan, also known as Likid Coper and Datu Coper, 53, chieftain of the Mandaya Tribal Council covering Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT)-01 in Caraga and part of Bataan town in Compostela Valley Province, his 44-year old brother Ramon, and nephew Benny.

Pursuing government troops reportedly recovered a wounded from among the attackers but it cannot be independently verified.

Responding policemen engaged the attackers in a firefight as they withdrew towards the neighboring town of Manay.

Under cover of darkness, an undetermined number of unidentified armed men arrived in the village onboard two vans and threacherously attacked the houses of Banugan and his relatives.

The identities of the attackers are yet to be established but all indications and motives point to the NPA due to prior incidents.

Personnel of the Caraga Municipal Police Station under PSInsp. Anthony Gumban heard the gunfires and responded onboard a patrol car but was blocked with burnt tires and spikes at P.M. Subrecarey st. here.

The policemen were forced to walk towards the area and catched up with the withdrawing attackers who engaged them in a firefight but managed to escape towards Manay onboard the two vans.

Police recovered from the crime scene a magazine for KG9 machine pistol with three live 9 mm ammunitions, three live ammunitions for M203 Grenade Launcher, five caliber 5.56 mm ammunitions for M16 rifle, and three empty shells of spent M203 ammunition.

Banugan as chieftain was the main proponent of the Calapagan Mandaya Tribal Council policy declaring the entire CADT-01 as a “peace zone” that prohibits the entry of all armed groups.

Sometime last June, some 200 NPA men from New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, Cateel, Boston and Baganga towns, all in Davao Oriental, entered the CADT-01 area and knocked on the doors of residents including that of the late Likid Banugan.

The Tribal Chieftain reported the incident and the NPA’s meddling on purely indigenous people (IP) matters to the media.

Local newspapers particularly Sun*Star Davao come up with a story by-lined by its editor Estella Estremera. The Philippine Daily Inquirer also published a story filed by its Davao-based Correspondent Frinston Lim on the incident and Banugan’s complaint against the NPA.

The incident was repeated last November but the Tribal Council and its elders put it under wrap so as not to worsen the situation.

The NPA accused Banugan and the whole Tribal Council as “assets” of the AFP.

In its earlier statement, the Council clearly stated that they support peace & development efforts but they are against any armed group to enter in their community as they support neither the military nor the NPA.

The NPA repeatedly threatened Banugan to cease organizing the community for peace and development.
Banugan had formed three organizations: one each for the IP leaders and elders, for women, and for the youth.

Apparently the NPA disliked these sectoral groups outside their control.

Another possible motive of the NPA in killing Banugan was the Tribal Council’s decision on a land conflict of two families in Sitio Sabang where the NPA favored the losing family against the Tribal Council’s decision.

Under the leadership of Banugan, the Tribal Council vehemently detests the meddling of the NPA in the affairs of the IP especially on its decisions and those of its elders.

News via (SPRINT NEWS)