THE indigenous groups in Davao Region hoped that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would sign the controversial Anti-Terror Bill as they commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Rano Massacre.
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in Davao Region (NCIP-Davao) Director Gerry Aguio said groups such as the Mindanao Indigenous Council of Elders and Leaders (Mipcel) and the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Youth Organization (Mipyo) have already expressed support on the Anti-Terror Bill or House Bill 6875 and Senate Bill 1803, which is now waiting for Duterte's approval.
He said this will help prevent the killings of indigenous peoples similar to the Rano Massacre in 1989.
The Rano Massacre was the carnage of 39 Bagobo Tagabawa tribesmen by heavily armed members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The IPs were attending a Sunday morning worship in their chapel in Sitio Rano, Barangay Binaton, Digos City on June 25, 1989, when the gunmen attacked them. The NPA reportedly has owned the attack.
“Hopefully, mapirmahan ning Anti-Terror Bill para at least kani nga mga panghitabo malikayan na ug dili na mahimong biktima ang among mga IP community o unsa man nga community mahimong biktima sa terrorismo (qe are hoping that the Anti-Terror Bill will be signed to prevent similar massacre to happen and the IP and non-IP communities will no longer be victims of the terrorist attacks),” Aguio said.
He said they are confident that the courts will be able to hold accountable people with terroristic intentions.
“Naglaom mi nga pirmahan ni sa Presidente kay wa man giundang ang demokrasya sa Anti Terror Bill. Naglihok man ang demokrasya. Naglihok man ang atong korte nga mupitol sa ilang gi-perceive nga mahitabong abuso. Kaning ilang gipanganlan nga abuso, perception pa man, di pa man siya factual. Duna na may korte nga naga-function (we are hoping that it will be signed by the President since it will not curtail democracy and the court will be working to identify the people who intend to cause harm),” he said.
He added the rights of the civilian authority will still prevail with the passage of the Anti-Terror Bill into law.
The NCIP-Davao has prepared activities for the 31st commemoration of the Rano Massacre.
“Kini para mahatagan og bili o silbi ang mga martir sa nahitabo nga massacre ug mahatagan og hustisya pinaagi sa pagpahinumdom sa katawhan nga kani nga panghitabo ug unta dili na mausab (this is to honor the victims of the massacre and give them justice by raising awareness and hoping it will not happen again),” he said.
Aguio said it is also a reminder that there are still lapses in the current policies that need to be addressed.
“Hopefully, with this incident, atong ma-realize nga adunay daghang usbon o dunay mga bag-ohon nga mga pamaagi para mahatagan nato og hustisya man lang ang atong mga martir ato nga panghitabo (Hopefully, we will realize that we have a lot to fix with our current system so we can give justice to the victims),” he said.