Eufemia Cullamat termite, threat to Manobo tribe: IP leader

By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency

Datu Rico Maca, IP Mandatory Representative of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur (PIA Caraga photo)

MANILA – A representative of the indigenous peoples (IP) in Surigao del Sur lambasted Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat for turning her back on the Manobo tribe saying she is a threat to the IP communities.


Datu Rico Maca, IP Mandatory Representative of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, said Cullamat was mum and never condemned the series of IP killings and violent attacks perpetrated by communist rebels against the tribal leaders.


"Last month, mayroong in-abduct na lima dito sa may bandang Carmen, Sitio Gacub, in-abduct ng NPA na hanggang ngayon hindi makita. Hindi man lang namin nakita iyong sentimyento at pag-support sa mga ganitong lawless incidents, lalo na iyon si Eufemia Cullamat (Last month, there are five tribal leaders abducted near Carmen, Sitio Gacub. Until now we haven't found them. We have not even heard sentiments against these lawless incidents, especially from Eufemia Cullamat)," Maca said during the June 21 episode of "Tagged: Debunking Lies by Telling the Truth."


He said Cullamat turned her back on the Manobo tribe after winning a seat in Congress.


"Noong time na nalaman namin na isa siya sa nominee doon sa Bayan Muna Party-list, grabe ang aming campaign na iboto siya. Iboto ang Bayan Muna Party-list dahil akala namin nandiyan siya makatulong pero ang ginagawa niya, siya iyong anay, siya iyong banta ng kinabukasan ng tribo dito sa aming probinsiya (When the time we were informed that she was nominated as representative of the Bayan Muna Party-list, we campaigned to vote for her. We voted the Bayan Muna Party-list because we thought she's there to help us, but she turned out to be the termite, the threat to our tribe here in the province)," he said.


Maca also sought the government’s help to hold groups and personalities accountable for exploiting IP situations and recruiting Manobo minors to engage in the armed movement.


Cullamat, he added, should be held accountable for turning back from protecting the rights of the IPs in the province.


"Talagang magpatulong kami sa ating pamahalaan na huwag na sanang—tulungan kami na kailangan mapanagot siya nitong pagiging biased niya (We are asking the government to help us to hold her accountable for being biased against us)," he said.


On Jan. 29, the League of Caraga Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (LCIPMR) in Surigao del Sur issued a resolution declaring Cullamat as ‘persona non grata’ in the ancestral domains of the Manobo, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Higaonon, and Banwaon Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) of Caraga Region.


Maca earlier said Caraga Region has been suffering from decades of manipulation, misrepresentation, and atrocities posed by the communist terrorist groups and their supporters.


Meanwhile, he called out militant organizations and other individuals, including Cullamat, for exploiting the IP situation such as the "intense firefight" between the government forces and the communist rebels in Barangay Diatagan, Lianga town on June 15.


"So, itong nangyari ngayon ma’am, medyo nagiging highlight sa ating social media pero ang panawagan namin, respetuhin iyong customary laws ng tribong Manobo (The incident became the highlight in the social media, but we are appealing to respect our customary laws of Manobo tribe)," he said.


Maca made the appeal after the Makabayan bloc lawmakers sought to investigate the deaths of Lenie Perez Rivas, 38; Willy Salinas Rodriguez, 20; and a 12-year-old minor during the armed encounter in Lianga.


The Manobo tribal council has an ongoing investigation into the armed encounter, he said.


"Mayroon kaming sariling justice system na dapat irespeto (We have our own justice system that has to be respected)," said Maca.


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

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