Subanen leader says his fight is vs illegal miningPhilippine Daily Inquirer
BAYOG, Zamboanga del Sur—The tribal leader who lost his son in an attack on Sept. 4 said on Saturday he was fighting illegal mining in his area and demanded that those behind illegal mines leave his town.
In a statement, Timuay Lucenio Manda, a Subanen leader and village chief, said losing a son was painful enough and being falsely quoted as saying he was against all forms of mining added to his anguish.
“To set the record straight, I am not antimining,” the statement quoted Manda as saying. “I am anti-illegal mining.”
“I am a government official, captain of Barangay Conacon, and I swore to uphold the law,” the statement said. “We have our laws on mining and other environmental laws,” it said.
The statement was issued just as police announced the arrest last Friday of two suspects in the ambush on Manda that killed his 11-year-old son, Jordan.
Insp. Erol Alejo, Bayog police chief, said on Saturday that Marlon Luao and Coloy Entag were arrested in their houses in Barangay Conacon around 10 a.m. on Friday. Police said they seized a .45 cal. pistol and bullets from the suspects.
Alejo said the two suspects were identified by some witnesses as among the armed men who ambushed Manda on Sept. 4.
Manda was driving his son, Jordan, to school when five to eight armed men attacked him. He was slightly injured but his son, Jordan, suffered fatal gunshot wounds.
The two men are now detained at the Zamboanga del Sur police headquarters pending the filing of charges against them, Alejo said.
He said police are still investigating the motive for the attack.
Manda earlier said he could not immediately think of any reason why anyone would want him dead.
“I and the villagers are already in good terms after we addressed issues” over mining operations, said Manda shortly after the attack.
“While I appreciate the sympathy of some groups … I cannot afford to make this matter their avenue for expressing their antimining advocacy which I do not subscribe to,” Manda’s statement quoted him as saying.
“I am calling the attention of those who mine or are planning to mine in our ancestral land without valid or legal documents. Stop now,” said the statement.
“You only bring trouble to our peaceful community and destruction to our environment,” it said.
“Those who are doing illegal mining business in Bayog but are not from Bayog, get out of Bayog now,” Manda said.
Manda is leading an effort to unify efforts by the Subanen people in the Central Zamboanga Peninsula to stake their claims on and protect their remaining ancestral domain.
He asked outsiders to “stop intervening or exploiting your fellow IPs (indigenous peoples).”
“We are responsible enough to handle our own problems,” he said. “We can settle our disputes peacefully … if there is no outside intervention,” he added.
He appealed to President Aquino to pay attention to illegal mining, saying “something must be wrong when the law cannot be enforced effectively in our place.” With a report by Tito Fiel, Inquirer Mindanao