Bukidnon IPs to gov’t: Solve ‘lumad’ killings
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Leaders of tribal communities in Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions are calling on Malacañang to look into the killings of “lumad” (indigenous peoples, or IPs) as two more IP elders were killed by unidentified gunmen in Bukidnon province last week.
Datu Erwin Marte of the Tagoloanon tribe in Bukidnon said the murder of Datu Winefredo Sumael, 75, and Datu Raffy Alim, 28, on Dec. 13 prompted them to issue an urgent call to President Duterte.
Sumael and Alim were on their way to an elders’ meeting in Kadingilan town, Bukidnon, on board a motorcycle when they were shot and killed in Barangay Old Nongnongan.
“Two gunmen were waiting for them [in a secluded spot] and fired at them as they approached. Residents nearby thought they only heard a motorcycle crash,” said Police Maj. Harvey Sanchez, police chief of Don Carlos town.
“What is urgent here is to call for the stop of these lumad killings,” said Orlando Ravanera, chair of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), who helped organize the national IPs’ virtual summit here on Tuesday.
Ravanera said the CDA regional office here served as the virtual summit’s venue since many of the tribal communities in Northern Mindanao had organized themselves into cooperatives. Representatives from different Bukidnon tribes like the Higaonon, Manobo, Matigsalog, Bukidnon, Talaandig, Tigwanahon and Umayamnon attended the event.
Sumael and Alim were the latest victims in the series of lumad killings in Mindanao, which had already claimed more than 60 lives in the last five years.
“The lives of [indigenous peoples] matter. They are human beings with the right to live,” Ravanera told reporters at the sideline of the summit. —JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
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