Tribal leader, son shot dead by men dressed in military fatigues

Published February 4, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Yas D. Ocampo

Davao City – A leader of the Langilang-Manobo tribe and his son were shot dead by armed men, believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) members dressed in government military fatigues, inside their home in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte yesterday dawn.

The victims were identified as Datu Banagjao Mampaunag and his son Jhonard. Their residence was attacked by the armed men at around 4 .m.

According to Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) spokesperson Maj. Ezra Balagtey, the attackers were “Tagalog-speaking” and were believed to be members of the NPA.

Balagtey said a medical team from Talaingod was dispatched to give assistance but the team stopped after hearing an explosion.

The remains of Banadjao and Jhonard are still in Sitio Igang, Barangay Palma Gil.

Military personnel believed that the NPA members were already in an ambush position, and could possibly attack army troops who would respond to the incident.

The incident happened a day after Banadjao came home from the two-day “Panagtagbo Alang sa Kalinaw ug Kalambuan,” an Indigenous Peoples Leaders’ Summit held in Davao City at the Green Height convention Center on January 31 and February 1.

Banadjao was one of the participants in the gathering held at the EastMinCom headquarters in Panacan, Davao City where President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called on tribal leaders from four regions in Mindanao to “dissociate from the NPA.”

“Distansya mo as NPA. Ayaw mo pakig away (You distance yourselves from the NPA. Do not fight them,” he had told them.

The two-day IP Leaders Summit was aimed at providing the “lumads” with an avenue to air their concerns to the national government.

Two of the issues included security and lack of economic opportunities.

Banadjao was also one of those who signed a manifesto calling for a push on their struggle and fight for self-determination based on their customary laws, cultures and traditions passed by their ancestors that are deeply rooted in their communities.

In the manifesto, they vowed not to fail Duterte in his peace and development program spelled-out in the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda.