The issues and concerns on the armed encounter between the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) and families of fatalities in Lianga town were finally settled through the justice system and customary laws of the Manobo tribe in Surigao del Sur.
The conclusion is the encounter that killed three Manobos was a legitimate encounter.
“Everything is settled now. What took place last June 15 in Sitio New Decoy was a legitimate encounter between the 3SFBN troopers and the NPA rebels,” Datu Constancio Duhac, the tribal chieftain of Lianga said on Thursday.
The Municipal Tribal Council of Lianga, the Provincial Tribal Council of Surigao del Sur, and the elders of the Manobo tribe on June 23 facilitated the processes called Dungaan and Uyagaan in Barangay Ganayon, Lianga.
The Dungaan is a gathering to hear all sides for the settlement of issues and disputes while the Uyagaan is a ritual officiated by the elders and spiritual leaders of the tribe.
“Through the Uyagaan, the families of those who died during the encounter released their bad feelings to a sacrificed animal. During the ritual, we used three pigs,” Duhac said.
He added that other details of the process were stipulated in a resolution issued by the municipal and tribal councils.
The resolution was, however, not yet available as of this posting.
Datu Rico Maca, the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative of San Miguel town, in a separate interview, said attached to the resolution was an affidavit issued by the concerned families.
The affidavit showed that they are satisfied with the customary process that settled the issues and concerns on the June 15 encounter.
“The matter was already settled and we assert that the June 15 incident was a legitimate encounter,” Maca said.
He added that the resolution also called on the different agencies and instrumentalities of the government, the religious sector, the Makabayan Bloc in Congress, the Save Our School (SOS) Network, and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, Inc. to respect the outcome of the tribal process.
He called on the Makabayan solons, human rights groups, and the SOS to refrain from spreading baseless information and accusations against the government and the military.
“They must respect the outcome of processes. We consider the same as sacred because everything that transpired was based on our culture and traditions,” Maca said.
The final part of the resolution was the condemnation of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA for their continued recruitment and the use of minors in their armed struggle.
“The NPA terrorists are just using our young generation in their futile armed struggle. We are calling them to stop recruiting and manipulating our youths,” Maca said.