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PIA Press Release

SAMMICCO complains vs BAGANI-Task Force Gantangan

By Nida Grace B. Tranquilan

Tandag, Surigao del Sur (December 06) -- The San Miguel Manobo Indigenous Cultural Communities Organization (SAMMICCO), an Indigenous People's Organization (IPO) complained against Task force Gantangan or members of the BAGANI in 3 Communities under the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title 116 (CADT 116) in San Miguel, this province.

The complaint was revealed by SAMICCO members led by Hawudon Jethro Montenegro, during the previous workshop. To resolve the issue, the 1st Convergence Cluster Meeting for Peace and Justice was held at Shacene Pension House, here last December 02.

During the forum, Chair Montenegro revealed that BAGANI members were strengthened by the Philippine Army and later became a paramilitary called as "Task Force Gantangan". The group was equipped with arms. Montenegro added, presently this group is considered threat to IP communities because of some personal interests. He also said that he has already received death threat from said group.

Datu Luciano Wagdus, IP leaders from Brgy. Bolhoon also explained that BAGANI is originally a consecrated tribal group aimed to defend the ancestral domain under the control of the IP elder leaders. According to Datu Wagdus, during the organizing of the BAGANI in Bolhoon,, being a leader in the community he was the one who gave consent to the IP to be a members of the BAGANI, but now was not able to gain respect from the members and even to control their activities within the Ancestral Domain.

Chair Montenegro also explained, BAGANI group will supposedly defend the whole Ancestral Domain in accordance to their tradition and customary laws of the Lumads under the control of the elder leader.

LTC Rene Caņete of 36IB on the other hand, clarified on issues raised that the Task Force Gantangan known as paramilitary before was falsely claiming as Bagani members. This group was already deactivated/ dismantled by former President Arroyo but maybe was not disarmed.

Meanwhile, the convergence members explained to the IPOs, that the issues and concerned cannot be solved by these members alone. "We need a support from other councils to resolved," the members said.

At the end of the discussion, members of the Peace and Justice Cluster suggested the IPOs to make a resolution and furnish a copy to the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in order to ask support on how to solve said issues and concerns raised by SAMMICCO. (PIA-Surigao del Sur) [top]

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