MAYORAL bet Jose Gabriel "Pompee" La Vina and other leaders of the opposition ticket have vowed to address the issues and support the causes of a lumad organization in Northern Mindanao once they win the elections in May.
La Vina and his running mate, Vicente "Dongkoy" Emano and congressional candidate for the second district Rufus Rodriguez vowed to support the advocacies of the Native Authentic Philippine History Tallano Ancestral Land Indigenous (Naphtali) tribe, during the group's first year anniversary last Sunday.
The opposition leaders graced the celebration at the Misamis Oriental Integrated Sports Complex (MOISC) with nearly 15,000 members in attendance from the city, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Camiguin.
Mario Malolot, regional director of Naphtali tribe for Northern Mindanao, said the group has around 80,000 members in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.
"Ang advocacy sa among grupo is makabalik ang history sa Tallano, ang yuta ug bahandi ug ang nawalang kasaysayan niini. Ang Tallano mao na ang pinaka-karaang tawo sauna sa wala pa masakop sa Spain ang Pilipinas," Malolot said.
La Vina said apart from ensuring the group's ancestral domain and rights to self-determination are preserved and protected, he also assured that they would benefit the government's agricultural programs.
La Vina is a former undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) who is now challenging the reelection bid of Mayor Oscar Moreno.
"Kadaghanan sa ato labina naa sa bukid anaa sa agrikultura ang pangitaan. Ikaduha nga ang ancestral domain respitohon kay dunay balaod niana nga dili lang gaka-enforce," La Vina said.
He also vowed that issues of Lumad communities, urban poor and most vulnerable sectors will be given priority if he wins the election.
"Para sa lumad ug kabus sa Cagayan de Oro ang among kawsa kung kami mahatagan sa posisyon amo ni i-priority inyong mga damgo. Kining self-governance walay lain magbuot ninyo kundili kamo," he added.
Malolot emphasized that while the group does not endorse a particular candidate, he said Naphtali tribe will support candidates who understand and support its causes.
"Wala mi nangampanya kay wala man mi manghilabot sa politika pero duha lang ang criteria sa kandidato nga among suportahan ang kauban namo ug ang motabang sa amo," Malolot said.
"Nalipay mi sa ila sa grupo ni Rufus, Mayor Dongkoy ug ni Pompee sa ilang saad nga mosuporta sila sa among kalihukan," he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition slate also graced the gathering of evangelical church leaders during a forum at MOISC last Saturday.
The group were given the opportunity to lay down their programs and plans, including their views on the different issues.
La Vina has reiterated his aspirations for the city in terms of education, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, among others, through his slogan "Bag-ong Cagayan."