Ex-NPA members from Ata-Manobo tribe get new shelters
By Prexx Marnie Kate Trozo / Philippine News Agency
DAVAO CITY – Indigenous peoples from the Ata-Manobo tribe who were victims of the communist terrorist New People's Army (NPA) in Talaingod, Daval del Norte receive a total of 68 housing units from the provincial government Monday.
The housing project at Sitio Tibucag, Dagohoy, worth PHP17.25 million, was funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) with the province’s counterpart funding of PHP6 million.
The turnover was led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., and Gov. Edwin Jubahib.
Jubahib said the project was intended for IPs who were locked inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Center who lost their homes due to NPA's atrocities.
“Haran is not the solution. War is not a solution either. The real solution to improving your lives is through hard work and making use of your ancestral lands for your livelihood,” Jubahib said, as he vowed to provide livelihood assistance to the tribe.
“You need to strive hard. Nothing will change in your life if you just sit all day and wait for assistance. You have to work and send your children to school,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries was Datu Ginamao Andil who recently returned to the fold after six years of hiding at Haran Center.
Andil became a member of Salugpongan Ta’tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Council and eventually became a vice-chairman in 1990. He joined the NPA in 2002.
He was among the other tribal leaders who fought when the struggle ensued between the IPs, under the leadership of Datu Gibang Apoga, and the employees of Alcantara and Sons, a logging concession over a misunderstanding of logging activities in Talaingod.
“We are grateful to the police and the army, especially to Governor Jubahib who is looking into the situation of the people,” Andil said.
The former NPA member vowed to work hard to bring back to their respective communities some of the IPs families still left in Haran.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)