Mangyan tribe slams NPA for Mindoro IP leader’s slay

By Saul Pa-a

April 15, 2019, 10:24 am

BANSUD, Oriental Mindoro -- The Hanunuo Tribe of the Mangyan Indigenous Peoples (IPs) condemned on Sunday the killing of their tribal leader allegedly by the New People's Army (NPA), which they described as “inhumane, senseless, and brutal.”

Hanunuo chieftain May-at Luzon expressed outrage over the brutal murder of Jose Barera alias “Gegs”, 47, who was killed in Sitio Liberty, Barangay Naibuan, San Jose, Occidental Mindoroon April 12.

“Parang hayop nilang pinatay ang isa sa mga lider ng tribu namin, wala silang mga konsensya. Mabuting tao ito. Akala ko para sila sa tao pero anung ginagawa nila sa amin (They killed our tribal leader like an animal, they don’t have any conscience at all. He is a good man. We thought they (NPAs) are for the people, but look at what they did to us),” Luzon said.

Barera succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of his body, which was found at the Tumalo River and ater identified by his brother, Boy.

Boy disclosed that at least seven NPA members, along with female rebels, forcibly took his brother from their house last Friday afternoon.

He said Jose’s wife and six children witnessed the abduction. They cried and begged to the rebels to spare their father’s life but to no avail as they were also threatened to be killed.

The rebels were identified to be members of NPA's Kilusang Larangang Gerilya–Silangan (KLG Silangan), led by a certain Rosita Serrano of the Sub-Regional Military Area – 4D operating in Southern Mindoro.

The military disclosed that Barera was a former member of the NPA’s Sangay ng Partido (SPL) in their barangay before he surrendered to the government.

The tribal leader was also a well-known supporter of Mindoro Occidental Rep. Josephine Sato and Governor Mario Gene Mendiola, who are actively providing support to the Mangyan community.

Both local government officials also condemned the brutal killing of the Mangyan chieftain.

Col. Marceliano Teofilo, Commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade based in Mindoro, rallied IP communities and the people of Mindoro to stand against the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA, declared a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

He also slammed human rights group Karapatan for keeping mum on the IP leader's slay.

“Where are the Karapatan and other human rights groups? This is the right time for you to show up and prove that you are true defenders of the people. We are calling your attention to conduct an impartial investigation and help the families of the victim attain justice. Speak up and slam the atrocities of the NPAs,” Teofilo said.

Lt. Col. Alexander Arbolado, Battalion Commander of the 4th Infantry Battalion (4IB) also condemned the killing.

“They are very desperate due to their sagging strength. They even resorted to kidnapping and forced their victims to join their group. Their heinous crimes show that they are merely like the terrorists Abu Sayyaf and ISIS,” Arbolado said.

The killing is among the series of violent acts of the NPAs in the island-province, following the kidnapping last April 6 of CAFGU Mabuhay Patrol Base member Reymundo Malupa, together with a Barangay Malo village chief and two other civilians in Bansud town.

The three, however, were released while Malupa remains in captive.

Military officials also confirmed that the NPAs were responsible for the killing of Kennedy Dam-in Aquino in Barangay Manoot, Rizal town in Occidental Mindoro and Jun-jun Ysog in Panaytayan, Oriental Mindoro.

They added that the NPAs were also behind the recent attempted kidnapping of four villagers, who managed to escape, in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro. (PNA)