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Tribal community declares NPA as ‘persona non grata’

Another tribal community in Surigao del Sur has declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as persona non grata.

“We can no longer tolerate and just close our eyes on the rampant killings, threat, and intimidation being perpetrated by the CPP-NPA,” the tribal leader of Ominugra to Banwa said to Pabukada-a group of Lumad.

1Lt. Jonald Romorosa, the Civil-Military Operations officer of 36th Infantry Battalion, said the Lumad are residing in the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title Number 238 (CADT 238)–a 70-hectare site covering the boundaries of Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, and Carmen, all in Surigao del Sur.

Romorosa said the tribal leaders convened last May 23, 2019 at Antonio’s Beach Resort, Barangay San Pedro, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.

The council passed Resolution No. 1 series of 2019 declaring the communist group and other leftist organizations such as Sidlak, Kasalo, Katribu, Act, Karapatan, Anakpawis, Anakbayan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, League of Filipino Students, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas as persona non grata.

Aside from denouncing the NPA, he said the resolution prohibits any Lumad from accepting or extending assistance to the NPA and their cohorts. A stiff penalty will also be imposed on any of their members who violate the community rule.

The tribal leaders decried the decades of abuse and exploitation that they suffered from the CPP-NPA. They said their community used to be peaceful and free of any violence before NPA started recruiting their fellow Lumad.

“We were deceived. We were made to believe that they will help us improve our lives. Instead, we lost our identity as Lumad.

They destroyed our cultures and traditions,” one of the leaders said.

Another provision of the resolution requires any and all legal organization to pay a courtesy call to the Tribal Council before they will be allowed to conduct any activity within the ancestral domain areas.

In a statement, Engwan Ala, the tribal chieftain of Pabukada, said he is a witness to the suffering of his people in the hands of the CPP-NPA for many years.

“This resolution is the best way that I can protect my people from threat, intimidation and recruitment of these terrorists. I urge my fellow leaders and Lumad of CADT 238 to support this resolution for the sake of our future generation,” Ala said.

Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, commander of the 36th Infantry Battalion, lauded the move of the tribal leaders. “I admire their courage for rising against the dreaded terrorists and extortionists,” he said.

“It is about time we get rid of these parasites that prey on the poor and innocent. We cannot allow the CPP-NPA to continuously destroy our communities especially our brother Lumad,” Trinidad said.

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