CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – In simple IP rites on September 18, 2015 in Butuan City, we witnessed the signing of Manifesto of Peace by IP Leaders in Caraga. IP leaders consist of 9 representing the barangays of San Isidro, Magnuyong and Diatagon, all parts of Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
The Manifesto cited the threat posed by the NPA to IP communities. The killings of their leaders for the past years have undermined lumad initiatives to strengthen their Indigenous Political Structure. The series of attacks done by the armed rebels against their communities resulted to the death of 60 Tribal leaders and their constituents since 2012.
“On behalf of all the tribal leaders of Caraga Region, we seek favor from the different Government Agencies to help us strengthen our IPs through RA 8371 stating that the government shall recognize and promote all rights of the Indigenous People”, the manifesto said.
In signing the manifesto, the different tribal leaders have clearly articulated the real threat in their communities and their continuing trust on the government to help them win the peace in their communities. This is a positive step given the recent events involving their fellow lumads. It can be recalled that onSeptember 1, 2015, three civilians were killed in Sitito Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Surigao del Sur.
Major General Oscar T Lactao, Commander 4ID lauds their move. He said, “The problems affecting our brother Lumads can be righfully solved by their leaders. We firmly support their call in their Manifesto which can lead to “Kahimuan” (dialogue) and eventually the “Tampuda” (Peace Pact.)
Early on, the 4th Infantry Division, has expressed support to a “Kahimuan” abd eventually a “Tampuda”.
In a related development, Major Ferdinand Amante, Jr, Chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council of Caraga Region, expressed his trust and confidence to the AFP. He said “They will not do any stupidity and will not blunder into situation that will taint their credibility in any way.
“The soldiers are our protectors. In this present administration, there is no room for foolish moves and gross mistakes attributable to bad judgement.” he further added.