LIANGA, Surigao del Sur – Tribal leaders and their members in Surigao del Sur and the Lianga municipal government gave Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR), Datu Jumar S. Bucales a hero’s burial on Saturday, October 10, in Diatagon, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur. 

3 17 1024x683 - Surigao tribes hail slain Manobo tribe leader as a hero
Surigao tribes and supporters of slain Manobo tribe leader Datu Jumar Bucales expressed their indignation through protest during burial parade in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on Saturday. (3rd SFBn-CMO/Mike U. Crismundo/Manila Bulletin)

They said his heroic deeds included his dedication to preserve and develop the culture of the Manobo tribe through the establishment of DepEd Schools of Living Tradition (DepEd-SLT), and his fight against the exploitation and corruption of IPS by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Bucales was honored with a parade on the streets of Lianga town,, with about a thousand tribe members from Surigao and Eastern Mindanao, local government officials, IPMRs, friends, supporters and relatives joining the long walk to carry his remains to his final resting place. 

The Manobo tribe leader served only for nine months as IPMR, but was able to accomplish tangible peace and development programs for the tribe, including the closure of NPA-linked schools, the establishment of DepEd-SLTs, electrification of sitios, rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads and various livelihood programs in conflict-affected communities, which are the gateways to the Andap Valley Range, the tribal leaders in the region also said. 

According to Lianga Mayor Novelita M. Sarmen, Bucales also proposed development plans in the hinterlands to boost the eco and agri-tourism in the municipality. 

Bucales also appeared in various Senate and congressional hearings concerning NPA terrorist killings of IP leaders.

The Manobo leader, being a former New People’s Army (NPA) commander and organizer, revealed how the insurgents exploited lumads, making him a hot target of the Communist group. From 2016-2018, he was ambushed thrice, and was finally killed on October 4. 

The Surigao tribes, local governments, provincial government of Surigao del Sur, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) condemned the brutal killings of Bucales and other IPs in Surigao. 

“The attacks of the NPA are “disproportionate and brutal,” and violate international humanitarian law,” said CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement to The Manila Bulletin. 

Surigao del Sur supported the cause of Bucales and the Surigao tribe leaders to declare CPP-NPA as persona-non-grata in the whole province, also said Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of Third Special Forces Battalion First Lt. Krisjuper Andreo J. Punsalan. 

During Bucales’ burial, Surigao tribes expressed their indignation through a protest. 

Surigao tribal leaders said that Datu Jumar Bucales may be gone but his name will be forever remembered as the one who truly loved and cared for the tribe.

“Nawala man si Datu Jumar, ang ating amahan sa tribo, pero ang ipinaglalaban niya at ang kanyang tapang ay mananatili sa atin.Tuloy ang laban kontra NPA. Hindi papatalo ang tribo at hindi kami matatakot,“ Datu Constancio Duhac, Lianga tribal chieftain said during the tribute to their leader.

Surigao tribes and supporters of slain Manobo tribe leader Datu Jumar Bucales expressed their indignation through protest during burial parade in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on Saturday. (3rd SFBn-CMO/Mike U. Crismundo/Manila Bulletin)

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