Lumad group ends armed struggle

Published September 26, 2018, 6:13 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Bonita Ermac

ILIGAN CITY – After being assured of the protection of the military, and of better access to and from their community, a group of lumads (indigenous people) has decided to turn in their weapons and vow a peaceful life in Barangay Rogongon here.


Ranny Salusad, who is also known as Commander Ambong, and his two deputies Carding Lihayan, or Commander Masi; and Bena Salacob, alias Benladen, are from the armed Higaonon tribe, which traces its roots to the need to protect the community against other rival tribes.

Salusad created the group to particularly put up with Maranao lumads, who they have accused of taking advantage of them.

According to him, the rival group, called Tonda Force, “abused their folk, robbed them, took their cattle, and even killed a relative.”

But ever since getting a call from President Rodrigo R. Duterte to stop their armed struggle, Salusad said it was time to gie up.

He recently led the surrender of high powered firearms, including caliber-30, M1, M2, and Browning automatic rifles to the Fourth Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Tuesday.

“Dili nami mahadlok kay nakita namo nga maayo ug naa na pud ang military sa among duol. (We will no longer be afraid, we have seen its good and the military is just around us),” Salusad declared.

He also cited the construction of an access road that will lead to and from their community.

Salusan also led the military to the remains of soldiers who were ambushed in December 2017, and buried in Rogongon.

And while the military did not directly tag Salusan’s group as an adversary of government, the surrender was nevertheless “a welcome development,” according to Second Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Thomas R. Sedano.

“I think that would be a good indicator they are really for this government already, thus he promised the Philippine Army is there to definitely support them, assist them in addressing what concerns they have”, Sedano added.