KATUNGOD LUMAD ALERT
Manobo girl abducted by a motorela driver
Malaybalay City, Bukidnon—Areya Balanban, 14 years old, Manobo, went out with her two other female friends in the afternoon of July 17, 2017 to walk around the capitol grounds. Areya and her friends are currently camping in the capitol grounds along with 82 Lumad families who forcibly evacuated from Barangay Tapayanon, Cabanglasan.
While strolling, Areya and the girls found a nearby store with a videoke machine, where they stayed and sang for a while. At around 4:00 in the afternoon, the girls decided to go home. Areya, however, went back inside the store to buy some candies for their walk back to camp while the two others went ahead.
She was not seen again since.
The videoke owner said that a man named Junjun Libertad, a motorela driver, was one of his customers that same afternoon. The said owner witnessed how Libertad grabbed Areya, took her aboard his motorela and sped off.
Areya’s family and friends have reported the matter to the Malaybalay City Police for investigation and rescue operations.
Areya is of the Manobo tribe from Cabanglasan. The Manobos evacuated from their homes in Cabanglasan since May 2017 and June 2017 due to threats to their lives and livelihood by armed members of the Alamara group headed by Sammy Diwangan. Until now, the Manobo families camping in the capitol grounds still fear of returning to their community. They asked the help of the Provincial Government of Bukidnon through Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri to put a stop to the attacks perpetrated by Diwangan and his armed men so they can finally go back to their homes safe and sound.
Since 2015, the Lumad communities of Cabanglasan and San Fernando have been forced to frequently leave their homes because of the threats. However, no lasting solution has been offered by the government even as the communities have demanded for the arrest of the perpetrators and the disbandment of the armed groups.
Cases of sexual harassments against the female IPs have been recorded and reported and yet no action had been taken by any of the government offices.
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Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
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Katungod Lumad Alert is published by the ‘Higala sa Lumad’ [Friends of the Lumad] Network.
‘Higala sa Lumad’ Network is a support group composed of a broad range of interfaith personalities/representative of organizations synergizing relevant capacities and resources for Lumad communities under attack. ‘Higala’ also serves as an informal monitoring network for Lumad human rights. ‘Higala’ has been established as a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project.
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