Dialogue Initiated By Gov Unites Warring Natives

Thursday’s Dialogue saw a heartwarming scene of forgiveness and family reconciliation of the Mandaya clan divided by a leadership crisis. Participants shed tears of joy in celebration of the overwhelming resolution and reconciliation as the two groups have agreed to settle their differences.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – A peace dialogue being initiated by Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang to help resolve a brewing conflict among Mandaya natives in a hinterland village in the town of Caraga, Davao Oriental has united the warring clans who are fighting for leadership.

The fight for leadership among the Mandaya natives living in the hinterland village of Sangab ensued after the brutal killing of their tribal chieftain, Copertino Banugan, by the Communist rebels in late December last year.

The dialogue facilitated by the governor on May 4, Thursday, right inside his residence in his hometown of Manay

The peace dialogue which lasted for a day have started tense as each of the warring factions were given ample time to ventilate their gripes against each other. During the dialogue facilitated by the governor on May 4, Thursday, right inside his residence in his hometown of Manay, the warring natives represented by its tribal leaders have agreed to amicably settle their disputes over leadership fight.

Governor Dayanghirang, who exerted efforts for a fair and peaceful talk among members of Southern Mindanao’s only CADT area, vowed that he will support whatever decision the community will come up to.

A heartwarming scene of forgiveness and family reconciliation of the Mandaya clan divided by a leadership crisis has prevailed in the end as Manuel Banugan, the current OIC Tribal Chieftain of Sangab and cousin of the slain tribal chieftain, waived his interest on leading the tribe, giving way for Christine Banugan, daughter of the slain Tribal Chieftain, as the tribe’s new leader.

STRONG BOND OF BLOOD AND FAMILY – Christine Banugan and Manuel Banugan embraced each other after a dialogue that ended their months-long dispute over a leadership crisis. Surrounding the two are NCIP Provincial Officer Julius Mabini. Governor Dayanghirang, PGO Chief of Staff and Dialogue Facilitator Ednar Dayanghirang and DOPPO Chief PSSUPT Harry Espela and other local officials.

Asserting his mandate to protect and assist IP communities to exercise their rights, Provincial Officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Julius Mabini said he only needs to validate and confirm from the Sangab Community its decision of choosing the young Banugan as their new leader.

Christine Banugan, the 26-year-old youngest daughter of the slain tribal chieftain, is being poised by the ‘mangkatadong’ or Council of Elders as the community’s new trailblazing leader. A promising Business Accounting Graduate from Ateneo de Davao University, Banugan turned down job offers with attractive compensation packages to live and serve the community she holds dear.

Sangab CADT 01 next leader Christine Banugan

Having been part of his father’s legacy in pushing for the preservation of the Mandaya culture and asserting efforts towards safeguarding the peace-loving community of Sangab against the NPA rebels, Banugan said she will do her best to fill her father’s shoes as the steward of their culture. She said following her father’s footsteps is such a big challenge and an ultimate sacrifice. “I am doing this for the sake of my people and the community I call home,” she said.

The two factions of the Banugan clan say they have set aside their differences to save their community from the seemingly unending unrest, which makes their community more vulnerable to outside threats. Both agreed that they have a duty to protect their community, acknowledging that as the resentment deepens between them, more division will be created.

“I decided to humbly concede for the sake of peace. At the end of the day we are still family living in the same community. And I am doing this for my community. I felt happy and relieved after I waived,” said Manuel, who will now assume his former role as a tribal investigator in the Tribal Council.

Home to more than 7,000 Mandaya natives, the sub-village of Sangab and the other twelve sub-villages within the territory that comprise the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title-01 (CADT-01) covers at least 14,000 hectares of vast forest and agricultural lands nestled atop a mountain range.

For the people of Sangab, Banugan’s impending assumption as their leader heralds a new kind of leadership which means empowerment of women, youth and the indigenous peoples.

701st Brigade Commander Col. Basiao and another local official expressed their support to the young Banugan.

The Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade Commander Col. Reuben Basiao, 67th IB Commander LTC Jake Thaddeus Obligado and Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office (DOPPO) Chief PSSUPT Harry Espela signified their support to Sangab’s new leader who is poised to continue her father’s legacy in upholding the Mandaya culture while advocating for peace and progress for the Mandaya community.

Governor Dayanghirang, who exerted efforts for a fair and peaceful talk among members of Southern Mindanao’s only CADT area, vowed that he will support whatever decision the community will come up to. “Our role in the Provincial Government is to support and to ensure the IP community’s welfare. This resolution is only the first step in our mission to address other important issues within the community. We are the IPs partners for development,” he assured.

PGO Chief of Staff Ednar Dayanghirang facilitates the dialogue of the disputing natives.

Since the start of his administration, dialogues have been part of the Provincial Government’s strategy for peaceful resolution of conflicts. Governor Dayanghiang says it will continue to adopt this strategy as an important tool to improve relationships, understanding and trust among institutions, offices and people, thus, ensuring sustainable development for the province. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

 

 

 

 

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