By LITO RULONA
Indigenous peoples group Kalumbay has condemned the military and the justice department for tagging three traditional lumad leaders as terrorist.
The three lumad leaders identified as Datu Manday-hon, Datu Mampadayag, and Mamerto Guyanon were listed as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army in the proscription petition filed by the Department of Justice to qualify the group as terrorist organization on Feb. 21.
“The listing is an affront to the indigenous peoples in Mindanao who have been subjected to centuries of massacre, ethnocide, and exclusion,” said Datu Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization.
Datu Mandayhon leads a community of Talaandig families along the Pantaron Range in Bukidnon has rarely set foot in the city. According to Kalumbay, Mandayhon’s home is at least two days on foot from the last point a vehicle could get into, but he was forced to join his community when they had to massively evacuate in 2016.
Kalumbay believes that the government encourages paramilitary forces because they push for and protect business interests in the ancestral domains. The community of Datu Mandayhon is a prospect for mining companies.
Goaynon said the Dela Mance has already been protecting a banana plantation in the ancestral lands of the Higaonon, home of Mamerto Guyanon, bordering the Pantaron Range.
Meanwhile, Datu Mam-padayag has constantly been with the Banwaon families who time and again run from military operations.
“These three have been tirelessly serving their communities in a thankless effort to protect what remains of our ancestral lands. Identifying these leaders as terrorists only serves to undermine our legitimate struggle for self-determination and self-governance,” Goaynon said.