By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF) offered to mediate the concerned communities of Besao, Mountain Province and Tubo, Abra to resolve the gruesome murder of three individuals.
On May 27, residents from Tubo found three bodies in the territory of Baclingyan, a village of Tubo. The police identified them as Jansen “Ayban” Gabaen, Ronnie Macayba, and Pedro Sauyen from Agawa, Besao who went in the adjacent town of Tubo to look for eels. The victims bore gunshot and hack wounds in the different parts of their body.
“The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front are more than willing to intercede in this case in order to bring it to its just and peaceful resolution,” Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan said in a statement.
The rebel leader appealed to the concerned parties to observe due process and settle the issue peacefully. This came amid reports of the brewing tension and call for tribal retribution by some individuals.
“We urge you to make a firm stand against the escalation of the issue towards a full-blown tribal war. We entreat our esteemed elders to be a portrait of reason and a beacon of justice. Dialogue and due process to mete out justice to the victims and aggrieved parties have proven to be effective in dispute resolution among our people and between tribes,” he said.
He underscored that all concerned, including the revolutionary movement, is “duty-bound to prevent the intensification of the brewing conflict.”
In a separate statement, the Chadli Molintas Command-NPA Ilocos and Cordillera repudiated that they perpetrated the killings.
“We vehemently deny allegations that the NPA has a hand on the killing incident. The NPA is waging a People’s War with the toiling masses—not against them,” said its spokesperson, Martin Montana.
He warned of individuals and institutions who may capitalize on the incident to sow disunity and instigate tribal war.
Montana also lambasted the military and police for blaming the rebels for such incidents without solid proof to back their accusations.
“They are discharging themselves from the responsibility of seeking true justice for the victims and use the situation for their anti-insurgency campaign, taking advantage even of unpleasant incidents such as this,” he added.
He backed the offer of Naogsan to intervene, citing that in the past 50 years, the revolutionary “has countlessly mediated in such similar conflicts among different tribes all over the Cordillera Region.”
Revolutionary standpoint on tribal war
According to both statements, the revolutionary movement is against tribal war. It stressed that “contradictions among oppressed classes should not be antagonistic but should be resolved in a peaceful manner and observing due process.” This, according to the rebels, creates disunity among tribes which “eventually weaken their ranks” and gives “opportunities for the imperialist and the ruling big comprador-bourgeoisie and landlords to advance their plans to grab ancestral territories and resources unnoticed.”
The rebels said that individuals and institutions who capitalize on such incidents to instigate tribal wars are servants of those who want to plunder and usurp indigenous peoples’ lands.
“Tribal wars only heighten such contradictions and waste the people’s resources. On the other hand, it does not address the root causes of national oppression and other problems of the Igorot national minorities which are imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism,” said Montana.
While Naogsan pointed out that such conflicts result to “unnecessary loss of countless lives, not to mention wastage of time, energy and resources” with “the people will suffer without genuinely addressing the roots of the conflict.”
They pointed out scarcity of resources and limited economic opportunities and boundary disputes under the present social system are the triggers of tribal conflicts.
“We call on all kakailians to share and utilize natural resources based on needs and work hand in hand in preserving and protecting our lands, rivers [and] forests for the use of future generations,” Montana said.
As opposed to tribal war, Naogsan explained that the “revolutionary people’s war” unites the people against the oppressive and abusive system that creates hardships and addresses the root cause of conflict. # nordis.net