Septuagenarian tribal leader killed by alleged NPA rebels

Another tribal leader was murdered by alleged communist guerrillas, believed to be members of Section Committee 89, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee, in Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasugong, Bukidnon on Aug. 13.

Capt. Norman Tagros, the civil-military operations officer of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, identified the victim as Benedicto Dinoy who was better known as Datu Mantalasan, 70, a resident of Purok 4, Barangay Dumalaguing.

Tagros said Datu Mantalasan was an Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative of the Higaonon tribe in the said community.

Accordingly, 10 unidentified armed men forcibly entered the residence of the victim around 9 p.m. on the same day and dragged him to an isolated area of the village.

Residents later heard gunshots.

His bullet-riddled body was found the next day.

Lt. Col. Ronald M. Illana, the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion, condemned the murder of the tribal leader.

“We mourn for the loss of the indigenous people’s community representative. This act is clear evidence that the CPP-NPA terrorists have no regard whatsoever to the culture of the indigenous peoples,” Illana said.

“They do not value the lives of others, especially the lives of innocent civilians who have no participation in any conflict,” he added.

He also said the rebels “violated the International Humanitarian Law, which protects civilians from harm regardless of race, religion, beliefs, and culture.”

Brig. Gen. Eric C Vinoya, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said that Datu Mantalasan was not a legitimate target because he had no direct participation in the government’s anti-insurgency drive.

“The CPP-NPA has once again proven their true nature as terrorists and oppressors of the Lumads,” he said.

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