CHICAGO, Illinois – Unperturbed by whatever will come his way for exposing the truth about communist lies and deception, a tribal leader said Monday he will never abandon his fellow indigenous peoples (IPs), unlike what Jose Maria Sison did more than 30 years ago.
In an interview by Filipino reporters at the Philippine Consulate General here, Datu Ramon Bayaan, of the Obu Manuvu Tribe from Arakan, North Cotabato, said he will never leave his community just to seek refuge and safety someplace else.
Bayaan was answering queries from Chicago-based journalists who floated the idea of asylum after the former placed himself in the line of fire due to revelations that he and seven other IP leaders from Mindanao made against the Communist Party of the Philip[pines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
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Bayaan said he will never do a “Joma”, referring to the CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison who fled to The Netherlands after peace talks failed in 1987.
“Si Joma Sison lang ang taong nakilala kong duwag. Pinabayaan niya ang Bayan niya at nagpunta sa ibang bansa (Joma is a coward for abandoning his Motherland for a foreign country),” he added.
Malacañang had criticized Sison for leaving his comrades to settle for a comfortable life in Europe, leaving his comrades to fend for themselves, and wounded comrades in the mountains left dying only for government soldiers to rescue and accord medical care.
“For IPs like me, our lives are imprinted on our ancestral lands,” said Bayaan, who is the founding chairperson of PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao. ‘Our ancestral lands are our life.”
As a former member of the NPA for 3 years, and later of the CPP for 12 years, Bayaan admitted he was able to organize 25 groups in the whole of Mindanao, and was a witness to oppression, deception of the tribes especially the killing of thousand traditional leaders who oppose communist ideology, and replaced them with revolutionary leaders.
“Tinulak kami ng napakaling problema na makarating sa malayong lugar na ito (A pressing problem prompted us to travel far and be here),” he said of his group’s ongoing speaking tour in several areas of the United States.
He said IPs were duped by the CPP-NPA into believing that they found an ally in the latter which was later found out to be undermining the government by sowing chaos with promises that the communists are their real defenders and protectors.
“Ang kultura namin nagsasabi na kung saan nagpunta ang mga tao at grupo na nagbigay ng problema sa komunidad ay kailangan naming puntahan at kausapin (We were brought here because our culture dictates that we resolve miseries caused to our tribes wherever the sources may be),” he added.
The CPP-NPA and its political arm, National Democratic Front, he said, have been getting financial support from foreign donors, not only from European Union members but also from United States (US) non-government organizations (NGO) to further their violent cause.
“Ang pinapakiusap namin sa mga kabayan sa Chicago, at ibang parte ng US na tulungan kme na huwag suportahan mga mga kaalyadong grupo, mga NGO, at iba pa na nagpapakilala na tumutulong sa amin pero wala namang nangyayaring tulong (We appeal to all fellow Filipinos in the US to refuse support for communist-linked groups who disguise using solicited funds for IPs),” he added.
Bayaan said only the National Commission on Indigenous People or NCIP can legitimately carry the voice and aspiration of the IPs, not Bayan USA and Gabriela, among others.
The CPP-NPA is also listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)