BUTUAN CITY – More than a thousand residents, mostly belonging to the Manobo tribe, joined the march and indignation rally Saturday as the remains of the slain Hawudon Jumar Bucales, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Lianga town in Surigao del Sur, was finally laid to rest.
The Manobo tribe, during the indignation rally, condemned the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) for the killing of Bucales and the other IP leaders and members in the area who they said were victims of the continuing terroristic acts of the rebels in different IP communities in the province.
“We lost a remarkable and excellent IP leader,” Datu Jimmy Guinsod, the IPMR of the province of Surigao del Sur, told Philippine News Agency Sunday.
Bucales and two of his companions were killed in an ambush staged by the NPA on Oct. 4 in Sitio Mamparasanon, Barangay Banahao, Lianga.
Guinsod said Bucales won the admiration of the other IP leaders and ordinary residents for the advocacies he lived, worked, and implemented to bring genuine peace and development in IP communities in Lianga and the rest of the province.
“He was a brave man. Despite the several attempts against his life, Datu Jumar continued to carry on with his advocacies towards the IP communities in their town,” he said.
Guinsod said the Manobo tribe in Surigao del Sur is celebrating the IP month this October with a heavy heart due to the loss of their leaders and members.
“For this month alone, at the start of the IP month, the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) killed four Manobo tribe members, to include Datu Jumar and his two companions and Pfc. Ariel Guinsod Maca, an IP soldier killed by the CTGs last Oct. 3 in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur,” he added.
The contributions of Bucales to Lianga were also recognized by the local government unit, Guinsod said adding the IP leader “served only for nine months as IPMR but was able to accomplish tangible peace and development programs for the tribe.”
Among his notable accomplishment was the facilitation of the establishment of an IP school that is accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd), electrification of sitios especially those in IP communities, the rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads, and various livelihood programs in the conflict-affected communities which are the gateways to the Andap Valley Range.
Andap Valley is the home of the Manobo tribe in Surigao del Sur.
Lianga town Mayor Novelita Sarmen said Bucales also proposed development plans in the hinterlands to boost the economy and the agri-tourism in the municipality.