Militia attacks wedding reception in Bukidnon (Part 2)

Aug. 02, 2016

Father laments pregnant daughter’s death


Maitis Gayuran, father of Makinit, who is also the tribal chieftain in the community of Tigwahanon in Sitio Tibugawan, Barangay Kawayan, San Fernando Bukidnon.

DAVAO CITY – The father of Makinit Gayuran, who was killed in a wedding celebration last Saturday, July 30, hopes for the suspected killers to be caught.

Makinit Gayuran is one of the victims, together with seven wounded minors, and more than 80 individuals who evacuated their community after a paramilitary group – New Indigenous Peoples’ Army (Nipar) – indiscriminately fired at them last Saturday morning, July 30.

Read: Pregnant woman dies, 5 minors injured in militia shooting in Bukidnon

Nipar is said to be led by Butsoy Salusad, who turns a fugitive in their community after the court issued a warrant for his arrest as suspect in killing village chief Jimmy Libuyong of Barangay Dao in San Fernando, Bukidnon province.

Salusad was said to be a former New People’s Army who surrendered to the Army.

Tigwahanon tribal chieftain of the Maitis Gayuran, father of Makinit, wanted Salusad to be arrested as soon as possible.

“If Butsoy will not be caught, he will come back for us,” Gayuran said.

“They massacred us, we do not see any reason for that, what we want is for him to be arrested,” he added.

Question were raised among community members if Salusad was indeed a member of state forces for he and his group was seen wearing military uniform.

“If he is not a military, how come he is still free,” Gayuran asked.

“I do not believe that he is just a paramilitary. He is indeed a military,” He said.

Gayuran said that it is the state who is responsible for Salusad’s group, “where will they get their income if not from the government,” he said.

Before the strafing incident in Sitio Tibugawan, Barangay Kawayan, San Fernando Bukidnon, Gayuran recalled that he was about to fetch his daughter, who is nine months pregnant, from the wedding ceremony. They live near the venue of the wedding reception.

When the firing happened his daughter was hit on her chest. Gayuran said that he rushed to the town center to ask for help.

On his way to the town center, Gayuran said, “I saw children being dragged by their parents to safety, the older ones fell down at the slope.”

“I never thought of them (older people) to be able to reach the barrio for they could hardly walk. I thought they will be left along the road,” he said.

Sitio as a target

Days before the incident, Gayuran, as the tribal chieftain, met with Salusad in a meeting in San Fernando.

“He [Salusad] was suspecting that some members of Magahat (paramilitary) are residing in our sitio,” Gayuran said.

Gayuran said that he denied the allegations, but Salusad interrupted him and thanked him for answering.

“They are already planning on killing someone from our community, but we were just complacent because I already told them that there is no paramilitary member in our sitio,” He said.

Possible motive

One of the tribal leaders in Sitio Tibugawan, Datu Jimboy Mandagit, admitted that he is one of the target of Salusad’s group.

Mandagit said that only a month ago, Salusad sent him a letter telling him to surrender because he “hinders Salusad’s plans.”

Mandagit  said his stand on the protection of their ancestral land against the possible of entry of mining operations could be a reason for the threat.

“That is why I am the number 1 target of Salusad,” he said.

“I did not surrender because I do not see a reason to surrender,” he said.

The entry of mining operations according to Mandagit will “damage their fresh water and soil for the next generation.”

San Fernando, Bukidnon Vice Mayor Norberto I. Catalan said that blotter has been filed against Salusad in their municipal police.

“We will gather the Lumad leaders to settle the incident in a peaceful way, to avoid killings,” Catalan said.

The vice mayor said that they are about to send military and police troops to the community when they heard of the incident but there was still a ceasefire implemented.

The incident on Saturday happened hours before President Rodrigo Duterte lifted his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines. (

Part 1: Militia attacks wedding reception in Bukidnon (Part 1)

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