By Malu C. Manar, PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Members of a tribal group in North Cotabato on Friday marched on the city streets here demanding a stop in the killing of their leaders.
Since July, they said at least two tribal leaders were executed by suspected New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels.
Datu Marcelino Damyog of the Manuvu from Arakan, North Cotabato said the killing of their leaders is the highest form of ‘desecration’ of the positions they are holding.
“For us, lumads in Mindanao, the position held by our leader is sacred. When you kill our leader, you desecrated his position,” said Damyog.
The protesters came from the towns of Arakan, Antipas, Magpet, and Makilala in North Cotabato.
Damyog said their leader, Datu Ansabo, was killed last July 17, creating fear and anxiety among them.
Also on that day, the rebels executed Cawsing Agaw, tribal leader from Marilog district in Davao City.
The NPAs admitted they killed Ansabu for his alleged participation in the October 2011 killing of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio in Arakan town.
On the other hand, Agaw was accused of several charges including murder and frustrated murder, cattle rustling, and other crimes.
But the tribal leaders denied such allegations.
“They have no proof about that. What was clear was that, these leaders have already defected from the NPAs. They used to be with the rebel movement,” Damyog said.
Damyog called on authorities to hear their pleas.
“We want to be protected. We deserve to live a peaceful life,” he said.