Groups air concern on missing tribal, lumad leaders

Jan. 29, 2019

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Lumad leader Datu Jomorito Goaynon,chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, and Ireneo Udarbe, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Northern Mindanao Region, were reported missing since last Jan.28.

“Datu Jumong is one of the founding leaders of SANDUGO – Alliance of Moro and Indigenous People for Self-Determination. He has led his tribe’s struggle to defend their ancestral land from encroachment,” Jerome Aba said in a statement Tuesday.

“Peasant leader Ireneo is in the forefront of their community’s assertion against the proposed conversion of their farmlands to palm oil plantation. Both of them have publicly deplored Martial Law and the horrors it casts upon Mindanaoans. And because of being brave critics of anti-people policies of the Duterte government, they have been subjects of red-tagging and trumped-up charges by state forces,” Aba added.

According to Michel Pineda, spokesperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – NMR, both Goaynon and Udarde left their office in Bulua at past ten in the morning. “Their last communication to a staff of Kalumbay had been to inform him that they were stuck in traffic on the way to their meeting place from their office. It was around 11 in the morning.”

“The two never got to their meeting place. None of their relatives or friends have seen or heard from them afterwards. Twice, calls to Datu Jomo were picked up but no one answered. His phone, as of this writing, can no longer be reached. Udarbe’s phone still rings but no one is picking it up,” Pineda said.

Pineda said the two missing leaders were on their way to a meeting with Pig-uyonan, a member organization of Kalumbay. Pig-uyonan was scheduled to have a dialogue this morning with the 65th Infantry Battalion, facilitated by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

“On January 22, Pig-uyonan, with Datu Jomorito, filed a complaint against the 65th IB for harassment and forced surrender. A tarpaulin bearing a picture of Datu Jomorito accusing him of recruiting the Lumad to the New People’s Army has also been hung in Talakag,” he added.

Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization and KMP has appealed to anyone who has any information about the whereabouts of Goaynon and Udarbe. “The last communication was sent while they were commuting from Bulua to Carmen,” Pineda said. (

comments powered by Disqus