By Myra Acuzar
Davao Today Intern
DAVAO CITY – Leaders of the Manobos trooped to the offices of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Tuesday to report abuses purportedly committed by the military in their community of Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
But the leaders under the Salugpungan ‘Ta Tanu Igkanugon were disappointed as officers in both offices were not present at that time.
Support groups like Kilusan ng mga Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (KMP), PASAKA and Anakbayan also staged rallies in front of the offices to highlight the Manobos’ calls to the public.
Tungig Mansumuy-at, a leader of the Salugpungan said that they should be recognized and be prioritized by government offices such as the NCIP because thay are the largest number of indigenous group in Davao region.
The group then went to the CHR which was a short distance from the NCIP, but found out that the office was close as its personnel were on training.
One of the Manobo supporters, Gelyne Alapag of Anakbayan said government offices should have taken a pro-active stance on this issue.
“We went to the NCIP but the officials were not there. The CHR should be open at all times. They should be the first to know and to respond on the needs of the lumads but they had not done anything,” Alapag said.
But the NCIP regional director Dr. Beth Malabanan told Davao Today that they are open to talk with the Talaingod Manobos.
She explained that last Tuesday, the group did not enter their office even after the NCIP legal counsel and former provincial officer in Talaingod Atty. Jake Dumagan invited them in.
“I don’t know if they really want to talk with us. We just want them to air their side. We welcome them anytime,” said Malabanan.
“For one, government wants only good for the community. That’s the government’s role,” she added.
The Manobos are now on their second week in their sanctuary at a church compound, and are still waiting for government’s repsonse to their situation.(davaotoday.com)