Ex-NPA member now an active IP youth advocate in Caraga region

In time with the conduct of the Regional Youth Leadership Summit held here, Roel “Datu Igtudan” Gano of the Manobo tribe based in Agusan del Sur shared how his life has changed when he surrendered to the government and experienced life in the mainstream society.

Datu Igdutan is one of the 13 members of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO) who has been going around places to intensify their advocacy with other youths against the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) group.

Now that he enjoys living a life with his family free from causing harm to other people, Datu Igtudan said he is happy that he was able to see his tribesmen during meetings and other big events in the regional and national levels.

“Ang tinud-anay sa dihang ania nako sa gobyerno, nindot na akong kahimtang. kay ngano, makuyog nako ankong katribu, ma-invite nako kung naa mi meeting para makabalo pod sila. So dakong kalahian adtong tua ko sa bukid sauna ug karon nga naa ko sa MIPYO (The truth is, right after I surrendered to the government, I experienced good life and I was able to bring my tribesmen with me during meetings so they will also learn new things as well. Life in the mountain is very different compared with my life now with the MIPYO),” explained Datu Igtudan.

Datu Igtudan further stressed that the NPAs have long been abusive with the indigenous peoples.

The NPAs use them in their extortion activities, killing of innocent people and even in the conduct of senseless rallies on the streets, he said.

He added that he could not forget how he and his relatives suffered the ruthless acts of the NPAs and hoped that it will serve as a lesson to all the youths.

“Ang tan-aw nako nga matabang namo sa among grupo nga among agnihon ang ubang tribu kadto nakasulod ug wala pa kasulod sa NPA nga magbalik-loob sa gobyerno ug magminatarong ang uban nga wala pa kasulod sa NPA, ug manginabuhi og tarong (I think our organization could help by convincing other youths especially those who already joined the NPA to surrender to the government. While those who were not yet exposed to the ruthless acts of the NPAs, they should choose to live rightfully and peacefully),” said Datu Igtudan.

He also underlined that the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao helps in securing the safety and protection of the people as security measures have been intensified thru the Philippine Army. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)