Surigao Sur IPs vow to continue fight of slain tribal leader

By Alexander Lopez

October 5, 2020, 8:13 pm

<p>Hawudon Jumar Bucales, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Lianga town, Surigao del Sur. <em>(PNA file photo by Alexander Lopez)</em></p>

Hawudon Jumar Bucales, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Lianga town, Surigao del Sur. (PNA file photo by Alexander Lopez)

BUTUAN CITY – The ambush-slaying of a prominent tribal leader in Surigao del Sur over the weekend will not be a hindrance and instead inspired indigenous peoples (IP) to continue the fight against terrorism and all forms of intimidations by the communist New People’s Army (NPA), IP leaders in the province said.

Hawudon Jumar Bucales, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Lianga town, and two other companions were killed in an ambush perpetrated by suspected NPA rebels at around 1:30 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 4) in Sitio Mamparasanon, Barangay Banahao, Lianga.

The other companions of Bucales were also wounded.

Col. James T. Goforth, Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office (SDSPPO) director, told Philippine News Agency Monday (Oct. 5) that based on the initial investigation, Bucales and his group came from an IPMR meeting in Barangay San Isidro Sunday morning.

When they returned home on board two motorcycles, around 20 armed men believed to be NPA rebels belonging to the Guerrilla Front (GF) 19 headed by a certain “Tulong Wagnos” waylaid the group of Bucales.

“It is with deep grief and sorrow to announce the untimely demise of Hon. Datu Jumar Bucales, IPMR of LGU Lianga,” said Mayor Novelita Sarmen in a statement issued Sunday evening.

She described Bucales’ killing as “brutal and a direct insult to democracy and to the most fragile peace and order we all hope to foster” in Lianga town.

As an IPMR, Bucales sits as an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Bayan, the local legislative body of Lianga.

Datu Jimmy Guinsod, the IPMR of the province of Surigao del Sur also denounced the killing of Bucales and accused the NPA rebels as responsible for such carnage.

“On behalf of the Tribal Leaders Conference of Surigao del Sur and as the provincial IPMR, I am strongly condemning the killing of Datu Jumar Bucales, the municipal IPMR of Lianga, Surigao del Sur perpetrated by the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) NPA Terrorist (CNT),” Guinsod said in a statement Sunday evening in his Facebook account.

He also told the IPs in the province that Datu Bucales offered his life for the future of the tribal people of Lianga and worked hard to shed light on his tribesmen especially those who were influenced by the CPP-NPA.

He also asked the help of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to give justice to the killing of Bucales.

The National Commission on Indigenous People in Caraga (NCIP-13) also denounced the killing Sunday, stating that the killing was perpetrated by the NPA rebels and took the life of an extremely active and revered tribal leader of Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

“We will not halt nor be weary. The fight has begun and we are here to carry on the battle, for a finer and better world, for the young and our future generation,” the agency said.

Fight will go on

“The IPs of Surigao del Sur and their leaders are not intimidated by this killing, we will continue the fight against terrorism and the protection of our communities from the intimidations and harassments of the CNTs,” said Datu Rico Maca, the IPMR of San Miguel town.

Maca said Monday the whole Manobo tribe in Surigao del Sur are deeply saddened by the loss of one of an "active and dynamic leader".

Fear, he said, will not "deter the resolve of IP leaders to continue to protect" their ancestral lands and communities from the intrusion of the NPA rebels.

“We will continue our fight to ensure that the Manobo tribe will have the peaceful exercise of their rights inside their ancestral lands, away from the influence and intimidations of the CNTs,” Maca added.

Datu Constancio Duhac, the tribal chieftain of Lianga also vowed to continue the advocacies of Bucales, especially his efforts "to save the tribe from the NPA".

“We are mourning right now and we condemn the killing of Datu Jumar. If the CNTs believe that we are cowed by their terroristic act, they are wrong. We will continue to fight for our rights,” Duhac said on Monday.

He added that Bucales’ death will inspire the Manobo leaders and tribesmen to move forward to protect their communities and their children from the NPA.

He also noted the dedication of Bucales to provide the IP children with quality education through the establishment of IP schools duly accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Last month, two government-accredited IP schools were formally handed over to the tribal communities in the towns of Lianga and Marihatag.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)