The Council of Elders of Talaingod led by Datu Guibang Apoga (third from left) holds a rally in front of the Talaingod Police Station in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of PRO-11)
DAVAO CITY -- Police Regional Office (PRO)-11 director, Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales supports the call of the Lumad to recognize their right to self-governance.
"The IPs have the right to self-governance and self-determination. It is stated under Republic Act No. 8371, the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 that they can use their own justice system based on their customary law," Morales said in a statement on Sunday.
Morales made this remark after a huge rally was organized by the Ata-Manobo Tribal Council headed by Datu Guibang Apoga, condemning Bayan Muna president and former solon Satur Ocampo and his companions for alleged trafficking.
Apoga, a feared tribal leader, abandoned the NPA sometime in August and surrendered to government forces.
Morales said he will support the Lumad in this quest and protect them with all their might, together with the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP), against the New People’s Army (NPA) and their supporters.
Morales said the Lumad IPs have been the targets of the NPA because they are the most accessible sources of armed guerrilla fighters and are easily persuaded to join the communist struggle and give them false hopes.
Morales said he is supporting the demand of the tribal leaders for a total stoppage of Salugpungan Community Learning Center (SCLC) and the call to let the Ata-Manobo who are still at the UCCP Haran in Davao City since 2016.
According to Morales, the Lumad in UCCP have been prohibited to go out of the premises.
Morales said the Lumad tribes do not need the group of Ocampo and several others to meddle with the tribal people and abuse their children.