TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Oct. 22 (PIA) -- With the aim to resolve the issues and concerns raised by some Manobo tribal groups led by the Malahutayong Pakigbisug Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) in the upper communities of Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur governor Alexander Pimentel has initiated a peace dialogue on Monday, Oct. 21 held in Km. 9, Sitio Simuwao, Diatagon, Lianga, this province.
Two Bayan Muna Partylist representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat, a council member of MAPASU, attended the activity and both shared their thoughts and sentiments to the members of the MAPASU organization.
Hawudon Mario Mangadlao, a tribal chieftain, suggested during the open forum that there is a need to reconcile first within their tribe through the Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) judicial system based on the customary laws that they have. The majority of the IP leaders headed by indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) Datu Jimmy Guinsod had agreed with the suggestion.
It was the second activity that the governor had initiated. During the first dialogue conducted on September 11, 2019, the leaders of the said organization, accordingly, told the governor that they would push to conduct the mass evacuation if the government could not find the solution to their demands.
In the recent dialogue, they demanded for the pullout of the military from their respective communities; to cease the recruitment for Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) from their tribe and the establishment of the patrol base/detachment; and to stop criticizing the Lumad schools such as the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), which are both non-DepEd accredited schools, among others.
Pimentel, on the other hand, explained that the presence of the military in the area is part of their mandate coming from the higher up officials, and it is beyond his capacity as the governor to give them an order to withdraw. "The military personnel in the area are performing their duties and responsibilities to secure our land and the people," said Pimentel.
He further urged the people to support President Duterte's call to institutionalize the Executive Order (EO) 70 or the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC).
"As a support to the president's order to end local communist armed conflict, we are here and we will be coming back together with other government agencies to bring the services and programs directly to the people in order to solve the primary issue of insurgency which is poverty," said Pimentel.
Pimentel added that the provincial government will support the livelihood programs in the area and the construction of school buildings provided that they comply with the requirements such as the accreditation with the Department of Education (DepEd). (NGBarcena/PIA-Surigao del Sur)