Rano Massacre survivors reassured of gov’t continued protection
DAVAO CITY, June 26 (PIA) – Presidential Communications Operations Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy personally consoled survivors of the 1989 Rano massacre during Thursday’s 31st year of remembering the gruesome attack by the New Peoples Army (NPA) against the Bagobo-Tagabawa community in Digos City.
Various government agencies supported and were present during the commemoration. It was initiated by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and supported by the Digos City LGU, National Security Council (NSC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
Badoy expressed her sympathies as she reassured that the present government has not forgotten and forsaken the victims and their families who endured the terrorist act where 39 mass goers at UCCP chapel were brutally killed on June 25, 1989 at Sitio Rano in Barangay Binaton.
The PCOO official joined Helen Dominguez, surviving wife of the pastor whose head was severed during the atrocity, in offering flowers at the memorial marker to remember and pay tribute to the victims who were mostly children and women.
“We all now stand on a piece of land where so much tragedy occurred 31 years ago and you have been unable to move on because justice has been denied of you. But let me tell you that we must honor the lives of those we love, who were sacrificed in that senseless tragedy,” Badoy stated in her solidarity message which was translated into Cebuano during a program at the barangay gym in Sitio Mati.
The victims of the Rano massacre from the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe, were attending a Sunday morning fellowship when they were attacked and killed by communist terrorists who owned up to the carnage.
“Hindi pwedeng balewalain. These are real lives na kinitil ng teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF. Hindi natin hahayaang walang mangyari.. We must do everything so that justice be will be served. Totoong buhay pinag-uusapan natin,” Badoy stated during a media interview.
Badoy, who also serves as Spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), raised the importance of the immediate enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, “so that this tragedy will no longer be repeated.”
“Because the ATB gives us, in government, a powerful weapon to wield so that we may defend and protect you from these soulless bastards, these terrorists CPP-NPA-NDF,” she said.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the President had the Rano massacre in mind when he declared the Anti-Terror Bill as urgent.”
Dominguez was still emotional as she recounted how her children and husband were brutally killed by NPA members 31 years ago.
“Lima ang patay sa akuang pamilya gyud. Katung gi putla’g liog – akong bana unya … naa ko’y anak sixteen, fourteen, twelve, ug eight ang mga namatay (Five died from my family. One was beheaded – my husband … and my children aged sixteen, fourteen, twelve and eight all died),” Dominguez said.
Although, she said her tribe was still thankful for the continued support of the government.
Col. Potenciano Camba, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade (IB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said that there are already healthy indications of economic activities in Barangay Binaton due to the maintained peace and order in the barangay.
Camba said that there’s only minimal provision of security in the area, as the community has established “Barug Labanan ang Kriminalidad” as their own defense against the entry or any attack from the communist rebels and criminality.
“Ang mga tao na mismo, ayaw sa criminality,” the AFP official said.
However, Camba assured that the government will continue to support and protect the IPs, and he hoped that the community will also keep on their strong stand to help end the insurgency problem.
“This is the aim of the whole of nation approach to end local communist armed conflict by 2022,” he stated.
Badoy and Camba were also joined by other officials from the local government of Digos City, AFP, Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Philippine Information Agency, in the Rano massacre commemoration with the survivors and their relatives. (PIA-XI/Carina L. Cayon/Kevin Paolo Caro)