New group of Lumad flees San Fernando village from the same alleged culprits

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/31 Aug.) A mother and child who belonged to 12 families from Sitio Kiranggol, Dao, San Fernando town who fled on Aug. 29 face the public in front the Provincial Capitol in Malaybalay City.

The group is running away from the same alleged culprits who drove an earlier group of residents in March and who eventually went home in August.

The provincial government, using its Civil Security Unit and forces from the Philippine National Police provincial command, disallowed the families to pitch tents. They are now using the stage in the Capitol Grounds as their temporary abode.

The residents of the Matigsalug tribe fled after they were allegedly harassed by paramilitary groups led by Alde “Butsoy” Salusad and his father Benjamin Salusad on Aug. 2. The elder Salusad surrendered to the government last year and has been working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a member of the CAFGU (Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographic Unit).

Datu Nilo Cabungcol, chair of Kaugalingong Sistema sa Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO), told Bukidnon News, that the residents, specifically Tessie Ombo, a small scale mining financier and a member of Kasilo, reported harassment and threats from the Salusads. The younger allegedly came first demanding cash. The father came in the afternoon with about 20 armed CAFGUs and “ransacked” their tents.

The threats scared the residents and brought them to Malaybalay City, just like the first group of Dao residents who came in March.

Cabungcol, a Manobo-Pulangiyon tribal leader from Kibawe, said Kasilo will join the Dao residents in crying for justice: seeking the arrest of the Salusads.

“Until they are in Dao, group after groups of residents will flee their homes for safety,” he added. Cabungcol admitted that the residents are yet to report formally the incidents to the police.

“They were running scared,” he added.

Provo Antipasado, provincial administrator, said via telephone the residents should have sought refuge in San Fernando and should have reported the incidents to the police.

Cabungcol said the residents did not trust the LGU in San Fernando because allegedly they have ties with the suspects. (Bukidnon News)