Former Pasaka leader surrenders

Former Pasaka leader surrenders

A FORMER leader of an indigenous peoples (IP) group and the last IP "bakwit" (evacuee) leader in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Haran, had surrendered to government forces.

In a press statement, Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib welcomed Datu Tungig Mansumuy-at, a former spokesperson of Pasakkaday Salugpongan Kalimuddan (Pasaka), surrendered to authorities on March 14.

Jubahib said Mansumuy-at was also accompanied by his companions Sumpo Tausan and Oni Boncalas.

The governor and IPs formally met on Wednesday morning, March 22, 2023 at the Provincial Clubhouse in Barangay Mankilan in Tagum City.

"I express my deepest gratitude to Datu Tungig and his companions for their courage in choosing the path towards peace," he said.

He added, "Their decision to surrender is a testament to the success of our peace and development programs in the province. This also shows that we are making significant progress in our efforts to end the decades-long insurgency problem in our region."

In a press conference, Mansumuy-ut said that while he was initially hesitant to surrender, he changed his mind after seeing how his fellow "bakwits" who surrendered were happy and productive with their families in their communities.

On July 21, 2021, a total of 53 Ata Manobo tribe folk, including 30 minors, returned to their ancestral land in Talaingod, Davao del Norte after three years of living at the UCCP-Haran.

The group has been holed up at the UCCP Haran facility here since 2015, amid allegations from the military that its members are being exploited by the New People's Army (NPA) to pressure government troops into abandoning hinterland areas under the rebels' influence.

Mansumuy-at expressed gratitude to the Army's 1003rd Infantry Brigade and 56th Infantry Battalion for ensuring their safety and providing food for him and his family during their stay.

He also vowed to help the government's peace programs.

He also condemned the NPA’s decade-long exploitation and deception of Ata Manobo tribe in Talaingod.

This comes nearly a year after Jong Monzon, former Pasaka secretary-general, had surrendered in 2022.

Monzon said the Haran evacuees were also "exploited" by the communist group to gain financing for their anti-government activities.

Pasaka has not issued a statement following the latest surrender of their member. RGL


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