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To Help Former Combatants to End Mindanao War

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
Rotary Club to Touch Base with Former MILF Commander

No less than the amazing President of the Rotary Club of East Cagayan de Oro Ms. Jean S. Ong, will be meeting the champion of the Indigenous Peoples and the Maranaos, Sultan Abdul Amoran who is half-Higaonon, half-Maranao, now stationed in Sitio Kibulag, Lantud, Talakag, Bukidnon. The very charismatic and popular Sultan was formerly the Brigade Comander of the MILF North Eastern Mindanao Front with some 5 division commanders and some 1,400 former MILF combatants under his command.in Camp Darul, Arkam, Maging, Lanao del Sur. The brave warrior now heads some 14 tribal groups in Mindanao in organizing the IPs into cooperatives. He is the elected Chairman of the IGPANADAYUG SA ABAGA TA BAYUG AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE (Protect Mindamora Falls in Bayug Cooperative).

The cooperative was organized a year or so ago to harness the collective power of the Indigenous Peoples to protect the environment especially the Mindamora Falls which is the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The 3-storey waterfalls is so amazing, continuosly flowing against the backdrop of radiating trees and flowers with birds including eagles hovering above as if dancing to the wonderful “music” of falling waters. Indeed, the beauty of nature is the reflection of the Creator (MAGBABAYA), thus, all IPs in Mindanao where ever they are, be they in Davao or in Caraga, have to face Mindamora Falls every time they pray or conduct rituals.

When a corporation dared to transform the Falls into a hydro-power plant, the Indigenous Peoples wrote the President not to allow sacrificing nature to the altar of greed and profit, categorically stating that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect God’s vanishing creation. They wrote, “Kaya naman kaming mga Tribung Higaonon at Tribung Maranao ng Barangay Lantud ay nagkakaisa upang maisa katuparan ang kagusturhan ng amng mga ninuno para sa kapakanan naming lahat hanggang sa darating pang henerasyon. Kong kaya kami ngayon an naninindigan upang mapabalik ang kagandahan ng kalikasan.” Yes, Indeed, they are correct firmly believing that the highest form of worship is to protect God’s vanishing creation.

Regaining back the lost ecological integrity can be done through massive tree planting of the hundreds of thousands of denuded areas which were massively denuded through non- stop illegal logging for five decades by six logging companies. In fact, one inch of ran fall in the 200 thousand hectares denuded areas means one-meter flood water high upon reaching the 200-hectare urban center of Cagayan de Oro. Ten-inch high rainfall means ten-meter high flood waters which occurred on December 17, 2011 when SENDONG Typhoon hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan killing some3,000 people and rendering 11,000 homeless. No way shall we allow this to happen again.

Thus, President Ms. Jean Ong is scheduled to meet the IP leasers headed by Sultan Abdul Amoran to trail-blaze massive tree planting. Also included in the meeting agenda is not only on regaining back the lost ecological integrity but on how the Indigenous People achieve food sufficiency and the liberating path to liberate the poor IPs from extreme poverty.

Indeed, these brave MILF warriors have ceased fire to exemplify the term, “Transformative Cooperative for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace!” They have waged a new war that has many moves against climate change, against hunger and poverty and to draw those in the margins into the mainstream of development processes but carries one collective spirit by harnessing the collective power of the Inidgenous Peoples. It is in this light that the Rotary Club of East Cagayan de Oro has offered its assistance. President Jean S. Ong is so passionate even to mobilize her own resources for peace to finally reign in the land of the brave and the free- Mindanao.

What is even mora amazing is when the Rotary Club througjh the amazing leadership of Ms. Jean Ong can make their IPs’ land productive, it will counter hunger and poverty especially the children[‘s malnutrition. Based on the data of the Food and Nutrition Institute, 85% of the Filipino children are malnou8rished, especially the IP children. Ms. Jean Ong’s kindness will tackle the root of malnutrition problem by strengthening the family’s capacity to provide for their food needs.

President Ong’s analysis is correct. The Indigenous Peoples are not the problem. On the contrary, they are the solution to the problem of ecological disaster, hunger and poverty. If only we can make their land productive which are just lying idle. Worse, we should not allow the massive “AGAW LUPA, AGAW TUBIG” of the IPs’ ancestral domain and be converted into massive plantations through corporate greed to satisfy the consumerist needs of the people in advanced countries while we cannot even satisfy basic strapless for our hungry people such as rice and milk The time has come to empower the IPs for ecological integrity and food security. Thank you President Jean Ong for your love and kindness to the poor and oppressed IPs. To you, our firm salute and warm embrace for hearing the cry of the poor and of the earth – all for God’s greater glory!.


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