Indigenous peoples (IP) groups lambasted Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat and individuals whom they said are “pretending to be human rights defenders that had contributed in a system of exploitation.”
The Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL) and the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO) criticized Cullamat for allowing her daughter to be victimized by the communist terrorist group New People’s Army’s (NPA).
“We condemn the adults pretending to be human rights defenders that had contributed in this system of exploitation like Representative Eufemia Culiamat, whose daughter fell victim to this systematic recruitment and still believes that it is the right of the children to enter the path of violence,” Datu Lipatuan Joel Unad, MIPCEL chairperson and Albin James Binayao, MIPYO chair, said in a statement on Feb. 12.
Jevilyn Campos Cullamat alias “Ka Reb”, 22, a member of the Sandatahan Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) of Guerrilla Front (GF) 19 was killed in an encounter in the hinterlands of Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur in November last year.
“She is a failure as a mother and as a leader. She, for a long time, had exchanged tradition with revolution. The tribe’s elders and leaders are promoters of peace; that’s the essence of why the community chooses leaders,” they said.
In time for the International Day of Condemnation on the use of Child Warriors in Armed Conflict, the IP groups expressed concern about the exploitation of IP children which eventually led them to become child warriors of the NPA.
“We are talking here of our children, brothers, and sisters. We are talking here of Awing Apoga, Asenad Bago, Manuel Salangani and more youth from Talaingod, of Magdalena Gano of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur and of Jocelyn Danwata of Arakan, North Cotabato. We are talking here of the stories of IP pupils brought to the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila like Michael and Lance,” the statement added.
It also added that at the young age of 10 and 12, they had been recruited to the NPA, bore arms against government forces, got wounded and scarred, saw relatives being killed by their own comrades, and witnessed the horror of wars. SOVEREIGNPH