On Christmas eve, 61 Teduray families from Sitio Makun, Barangay Limpongo, Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao fled their homes with nothing but their clothes on their backs, and with fear in their hearts. They left and moved to a nearby village after a series of attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) against Teduray and Lambangian communities living within Mt. Firis, part of their ancestral domain. That same evening, the BIFF came to Sitio Makun, and burned down Teduray houses. By the 2nd week of attacks, as we ushered the new year, most of the Teduray houses in Sitio Makun were burned down to the ground by the BIFF.
The 61 families from Sitio Makun are part of the growing numbers, now reaching 800 Teduray and Lambangian families, suffering from attacks of BIFF (1-12-18/PTV News). Several Teduray leaders were brutally killed in a span of two weeks – by bombing, and shooting.
These acts of violence by BIFF are seen as part of a continuing effort to drive out the Teduray and Lambangian communities from Mt. Firis, their ancestral domain. Mt. Firis is a sacred site for Tedurays, and part of the Teduray and Lambangian Ancestral Domain. It is located at the common boundaries of the Municipalities of Talayan, Guindulungan, Datu Saudi, Datu Unsay, Datu Hofer and South Upi, all in Maguindanao Province. Within this “Firis Complex” are Camp Omar and Camp Bader, acknowledged by the Philippine Government as Satellite Camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2005 without the knowledge of the Tedurays in the area. In a radio interview in Dec. 28, BIFF spokespersons said that the objectives for their acts of hostilities are to recover Camp Omar and to flush out migrant settlers.
These acts of injustice against the non-moro indigenous peoples of Maguindanao have to end. To attain genuine peace in Mindanao, the rights and the lives of the Teduray and Lambangian people have to be protected and respected. Justice has to be served.
For now, the URGENT APPEAL for the affected Teduray families, particularly the 61 families from Sitio Makun, whose houses were burnt down, is for assistance for them to live in dignity as they seek refuge in nearby sitios, with relatives, while some in evacuation centers.
Specifically, they need:
personal hygiene items for women and men.
You may bring these to LILAK’s office –
c/o FOCUS on the Global South 19 Maginhawa St, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City.
We can also pick up from within Metro Manila. Please pm us in our FB account or send text message at 09175268341 (judy).
For those who prefer to share cash, you may deposit to :
Bank Account – BPI 002163-2157-67
Branch: 02160 Cotabato R. Alonso
Maraming salamat po.