CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City –The chieftain and the sectoral leaders and members of a Higaonon tribe in Northern Mindanao, particularly in Bukidnon province formally broke ties with the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).
Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of 8th Infantry (Dependable) Battalion (8th IB) 2nd Lt. Camille M. Bumatay said the Higaonon community formally broke ties with the CTGs and reconciled with the government during the “Singampu Hu Butwaay” held at Sitio Ulayanon, Barangay Kalabugao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon province, recently.
“Singampu Hu Butwaay” is a traditional belief in the Higaonon tribe which signifies the reconciliation of two or more warring parties in the Indigenous People (IP) community.
“This is what the IP leaders want to happen as a symbol of their sincerity in going back to the folds of the government and in breaking their ties with the CTGs after being fooled and exploited for a long period of time,” the 8th IB CMO officer said.
The Higaonon community of Ulayanon headed by their tribal leaders participated in reconciliation activity together with Impasug-ong town Mayor Anthony A. Uy, Datu Beny Cumatang, Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Impasugong, Datu Renato “Makayuba” Sumbungan, IPMR of Malaybalay City, 403rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Deputy Brigade commander Col Jose Arn M. Real, Bukidnon Police Province Officer Director P/Col. Roel Lami-ing, 8th IB Commander Lt. Col. Edgardo V. Talaroc Jr., and other government agencies who also addressed the issues and concerns raised by the residents during the peace and reconciliation activity last Oct. 10 .
“Kaming mga nakasala sa atong gobyerno tungod sa pag supporta namo sa komunistang terrorista, manumpa kami nga undangon na namo ang pakiglambigit ug pagsuporta sa mga komunistang terrorista ug mobalik na kami sa atoang tinuod nga gobyerno”. (We who are guilty of supporting the communist terrorist pledge that we will stop engaging and supporting the communist terrorists and we will return to our real government), said 2nd Lt. Bumatay, quoting the statement of Higaonon tribal leader Datu Mambuloy during the activity.
“I am thankful to the tribal leaders especially to the tribal Datu in Sitio Ulayanon for their support to peace and order. Their perseverance through tribal ways or customs to have peace and order within the tribe and the barangay is a huge help to unite the tribe with the government,” Mayor Uy said.
Lt. Col. Talaroc Jr, welcomed this new development in Bukidnon. “I appreciate the effort of the tribe who are united as one to end their support to the terrorist group, I hope that other Indigenous tribe will do the same in the fight against the communist terrorists,” he said.
“Cutting-off ties with the terrorist group and returning to the government are the keys in achieving peace and development in our community. This is a challenge to the other tribes to do the same in the fight against the terrorist group that has long exploited the weakness of the tribe,” Col. Real said.