By Mike Crismundo
CAMP DATU MAKAPANDONG, Awa New Leyte, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – A tribal chieftain who defected from the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) made covenant with the government and Philippine Army (PA), in an effort to end the insurgency problem in his area, said Capt. Erick Wynmer F. Calulot, civil military operations officer of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry (Raptor) Brigade, 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, today.
In a statement sent to the Manila Bulletin last night, Calulot said Datu Gibang Apoga of the Manobo-Langilan tribe, acknowledged founder of the “Salugpungan Tuno Igkatuno” in the border of Caraga region, Compostela Valley (ComVal) and Davao del Norte provinces, voluntarily gave himself up to the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion (56th IB) at 9 a.m. on Saturday and vowed to closely coordinate for peace and development program of the government.
“As a gesture of genuine desire to finally support the government, Datu Gibang, an influential leader of an organization affiliated with the CNTs in the said provincial borders, along with his subordinate leaders, officially freed themselves from the clutches of the CNTs and sealed a peace covenant with the top area commanders of the 1003rd Brigade, the 56th IB, the local government of Talaingod and the provincial government of Davao del Norte at Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil of said town,” Calulot said, in a statement.
During the peace covenant ceremony, the 1003rd “Raptor” Brigade CMO officer claimed that the tribal chieftain, believed to be the chairman of an underground movement organization in Talaingod, turned over his M16 Armalite rifle to Brig. Gen. Ernesto C. Torres Jr., commanding general of the 1003rd Brigade.
“There were 500 other lumads who witnessed the historic event,” Calulot said.
After more than two decades of being “out” and having been legendary among his circle for his political efforts in supporting the NPA, Datu Gibang is now back to Nasilaban. His surrender would definitely hasten the clearing of areas in and around Talaingod from CPP and NPA influence, he said.
The chief executive assistant of Speaker Pantaleon D Alvarez, Edwin Jubahib, also witnessed the event.
“Together with the LGUs and LGAs, we will continue doing confidence-building measures to solidify the counterinsurgency gains in this undertaking,” Torres said, in the same statement sent to The Manila Bulletin, referring to the multiple efforts the Army has undertaken to ensure lasting peace in Davao region.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Noel S. Clement, commanding general of the Army’s Southern Mindanao 10th Infantry “Agila” Division lauded the field troops’ for their big accomplishment.
“Datu Guibang’s surrender will bring prosperity among his tribe and the communities. It will further unveil the truth behind Salugpungan Schools and how NPAs used these schools as a training ground for their future Lumad cadres back in 2014,” Clement said.
“10th ID troopers will remain steadfast in protecting people and securing communities including the indigenous peoples, their culture, and tradition for the generations to come,” he added.