Lumads in North Cotabato ask for protection-A A +A
Saturday, September 15, 2012
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Members of a tribal group in North Cotabato marched on the city streets Friday to demand from a rebel group to stop the killing of their leaders.
Since July, three tribal leaders were executed by believed to be New Peoples' Army (NPA) rebels.
Datu Marcelino Damyog of the Manuvu from Arakan, North Cotabato said the killing of their leaders is the highest form of “desecration” of the position they held.
"For us, lumads in Mindanao, the position held by our leader is sacred. When you kill our leader, you desecrated his position," Damyog said.
The protesters had come from towns of Arakan, Antipas, Magpet, and Makilala in North Cotabato.
Damyog said when their leader, Datu Ansabo, was killed in July 17, it created fear among them.
Also on that day, the rebels executed Cawsing.
The NPAs admitted they killed Ansabu for his alleged participation in the killing in October 2011 of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio in Arakan town.
Cawsing was also accused of several charges including murder and frustrated murder, cattle rustling, and other crimes.
But the tribal leaders denied such allegations.
"They have no proof about that. What was clear was that, these leaders have already defected from the NPAs. They used to be with the rebel movement," they said.
Damyog has also called on President Aquino to hear their pleas. "We want to be protected. We deserve to live a peaceful life," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 16, 2012.