Friday, March 1, 2013

NPA drives away Moros in North Cotabato village

From the Website of MILF

NPA drives away Moros in North Cotabato village


February 27, 2013 News: While the Moro residents of Sitio Lacobe, Barangay Malabuan, Makilala, North Cotabato Province, were taking rest in their respective houses at around 2:00 p. m. last February 23, at least 60 fully armed men wearing fatigue uniforms with patches of the 38th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army entered their village. 

The armed men led the residents toward an interior part of the village.  When the residents – about 35 persons including women and children – were all gathered, the armed men introduced themselves as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) of the Mt. Alip Command, Front 72 – Far South Mindanao Region.

The NPA rebels told the Moros to vacate the land that they occupied.
“The movement cannot allow that this land will be owned by only a few,” Muhammad Mamangkas, one of the residents, quoted the rebels as saying.
“We do not recognize the intervention done by the government (in the distribution of the land) as we find it unfair,” the members of the NPA said.

Just as a group among the rebels talked to the residents, another group searched the houses in the village and carted away the firearms that they found.
Some of the Moros in the village possessed firearms that they registered with the government for self-defense.

Datu Jainudin ‘Toks’ Baclid, the leader of the Baclid Clan that is native to the village, said the NPA rebels took away an M-79 grenade launcher, eight home-made Uzi pistols, five home-made Ingram pistols, two 38 caliber revolvers, and five 12-gauge shotguns.
Together with some other Moro Maguindanaons, the grandfather of Toks Baclid settled in Lacobe in the late ‘40s.   It was in 1969 when the government  gave them certificate of titles for the land that they occupied.

When the war broke out between the Black Shirts and the Ilaga terror gang in 1970, the members of the Baclid Clan were forced to leave Lacobe. Then, Christian settlers occupied the village.

All the attempts of the Baclid Clan to return to their village were met with strong opposition by the Christian settlers.

The members of the Baclid Clan, however, were able to settle again in Lacobe in the ‘90s.  The Moro and the Christian settlers became beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government.

“But in 2001, members of the NPA attacked the Moros in Lacobe.  They burned our houses and destroyed our means of livelihood,” Toks Baclid said.

In 2007, the Baclids decided to settle again in Lacobe.

“And on September 15, 2007, the NPAs ambushed us.  Two of my brothers were killed,” Baclid added.

The ambush on their family members by the NPAs, according to Baclid, was repeated on September 17, 2011, four years and two days after the first one.  Teding Baclid and PFC Nas Matiagal, a member of the Philippine Army and a close relative, were wounded, then.
What ensued were series of dialogues and signing of peace covenants between the Baclid Clan and that of the farmer-beneficiaries in Lacobe.  These were facilitated by the North Cotabato Provincial Government, the Municipal Local Government of Makilala and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

On February 9, 2012, a mediation conference between the Baclid Clan and the Farmer-Beneficiaries’ Group at the AJ Hi-Time Hotel in Kidapawan City.

Present in the conference were Toks Baclid, representing the Baclid Clan; Jose Danny Llup, representing the Farmer-Beneficiaries; Edris P. Gandalibo, North Cotabato Deputy Governor for Muslim Affairs and Alex Lalaguna, barangay captain of Malabuan, among others.

In the said conference, the Parties agreed that, “All areas not occupied by the Farmers’ Group belongs (sic) to the Baclid; all areas occupied  by the Baclids belong to the Baclids” subject to some stipulations such as, “For the affected areas, the farmers will be resettled to another vacant area.”

The document that the Parties came up with and signed contained provisions on how the different lots were distributed either to the Baclids or to the farmers’ group.
The Parties again met at the AJ Hi-Time Hotel on July 5, 2012.  They came up with Joint Agreement with provisions like, “We fully observe the Agreements made between the group of Sitio Lacobe ARBs (Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries) and the Baclid Family on February 9, 2012 at the AJ Hi-Time Hotel, Kidapawan City” and “We agree that any clarification, requests, complaint arising from the implementation of the Agreement, everything will be directed at the Project Management Team tasked to implement the February 9, 2012 Agreement.”

On March 12, 2012, members of the Baclid Clan and that of the farmer-beneficiaries gathered in the municipal hall of Makilala where  their respective representatives signed a peace agreement that provided, among other things, that the Baclids agreed to give away some of their owned land and the farmer-beneficiaries accepted the relocation area allotted to them.

The signing of the peace covenant was witnessed by North Cotabato Provincial Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliňo-Mendoza, Makilala Municipal Mayor Rudy Caoagdan and representatives from the DAR.

On January 31, 2013, the residents of Barangays Malabuan, Villaflores and Bato converged in Sitio Lacobe in the gathering dubbed as “Kanduli” for Peace and Development.

The main highlight of the gathering was the signing of the final Peace Covenant between the Baclid Clan and the Lacobe Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.

The signing was witnessed by DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Governor Taliňo-Mendoza and Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong of North Cotabato, and other officials.
The purpose of said gathering was to end the already 6-decade land conflict.

MILF Website