New Armed Rebel Group Emerges in Mindanao

Jan. 18, 2010

By Media Mindanao News Service

News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988

Posted by Davao Today

DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte (MMNS/September  30, 1987)  – A newly organized “revolutionary” group composed of members  of the Subanen tribe in Western Mindanao “fighting for autonomy” has recently declared its existence and threatened to launch on offensive “to get back our ancestral lands now occupied by big logging and agricultural firms.”

Five leaders of the Subanen Liberation Army (SLA) led by one Ka Tikyo, in a radio interview somewhere in this province, declared that their initial 87-strong armed forces is waging war to get back their ancestral lands taken away through “deceit, fraud, and violence by warlords and wealthy businessmen.”

The Subanos, numbering more that 300,000, are found in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Misamis Occidental. They comprise the majority of the population in these three provinces.

The SLA panel stressed that they opted “armed struggle” as “the Aquino government settles the Mindanao autonomy issue through talks only with armed groups,” referring to the three Moro rebel factions.

The spokesmen pinpointed on the Mindanao Estate Corporation (foreign-owned), and the Siari Valley Estate and the Mendoza Estate (both owned by local wealthy landlords) as “among our first targets.” The three logging and agriculture firms, situated in the municipality of Sindangan (some 90 kms south from here), comprise several thousands of hectares.

Ka Tikyo assailed the firms for “taking away our ancestral lands” and vowed to retrieve them and “destroy their security forces.”

The National Democratic Front here, in a press statement, said “We are not surprised of this development” referring to the formation of the SLA.

Ka Apolinario, NDF-Western Mindanao spokesperson, said that “a considerable number of our members and supporters come from the Subanen tribe” but did not claim having the SLA within their umbrella.

The military, on the other hand, declined to give comment saying they still have to gather intelligence information. . (Media Mindanao News Service News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988 Posted by Davao Today)

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