Bukidnon lumads decry harassment anew-A A +A
Thursday, September 27, 2012
INDIGENOUS people in Bukidnon were allegedly threatened anew as hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes for safety.
The lumads, who are residents of Sitio Kiranggol in Barangay Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon, were allegedly harassed again by the New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform led by Alde “Butsoy” Salusad and Benjamin “Nonong” Salusad of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu).
At least 21 families composed of 103 individuals from the Matigsalog tribe flee their homes out of fear. They were the second batch of “bakwits” since Dao village chief and lumad leader Jimmy Liguyon was brutally killed five months ago.
Liguyon was allegedly killed for his stance against the entry of mining companies in his community.
Earlier, 47 families already sought temporary refuge at the Freedom Stage in Malaybalay City and filed harassment cases against Salusad at the Commission on Human Rights in Cagayan de Oro.
Datu Nilo Cabungcal, chairperson of Kaugalingong Sistema sa Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan (Kasilo), along with the slain village chief’s wife Sharon Liguyon and Tessie Ombo also sought the advice of Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma before filing their complaints at the CHR.
Salusad, who has a warrant of arrest issued on May 2, 2012, allegedly remained unscathed after law enforcers refused to serve the warrant.
Ombo said she was forced to flee their community because of harassment as she criticized the Provincial Government for seemingly rejecting their request.
“What we want is for Salusad to be arrested so we can return to our homes and continue with our livelihood,” said Ombo, 28, while carrying her six-month-old baby.
According to her, Nipar is under the 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and Salusad’s father, a certain Nonong, is a Cafgu.
Salusad is identified with the San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus (Sanmatrida), which has pending applications for a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title and mining operations in Dao.
Major Eugene Osias, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, said the military, under Lieutenant Colonel Jose Maria Cuerpo, is already conducting internal investigation in the absence of a formal complaint filed by the people.
“We never tolerate such offense if it really happened. I am asking the victims in this case to file a complaint against Benjamin Salusad,” Osias said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 28, 2012.