DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte did not only reiterated his offer to train Lumad to be members of the CAFGU (Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit); he told them that they would receive P20,000 each for every New People’s Army guerrilla they kill.
“Isang NPA mapatay ninyo, kayong mga Lumad na maging CAFGU, I’ll pay you… you want money? I’ll give you money,” Duterte said in a press conference here on Friday, February 9.
Duterte was reacting to the question on what should be done on the IPs plight after hundreds in Talaingod town, Davao del Norte, rallied to call for justice for the slain tribal chieftain, Datu Banadjao Mampaundag and his son Jhonard Mampaundag who was allegedly killed by NPAs on February 4.
The President said that he be given three months to train qualified Lumads as CAFGU and pointed that in the meantime, “they would just live near military camps.”
“I will train them as CAFGU and give them firearms and go out and hunt for those who killed their comrades,” he said.
“I will make it 20,000 per head,” he added.
Meanwhile, Datu Kaylo Bontulan, a leader of a local Lumad group Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon (Salugpungan) in Talaingod, told Davao Today in an interview that Duterte’s offer will not solve the conflict but instead “worsen the war.”
“He is giving us war and not the solution because he is enticing the Lumad to take arms with bounty money,” Bontulan said in vernacular.
“President Duterte’s move to arm more Lumad will not solve the issues on Lumad killings,” he added.
The Lumad leader emphasized that if Duterte is “sincere” in achieving peace among Lumad communities, he should disband paramilitary groups in their area.
Bontulan also cited that “the presence of the paramilitary” is the reason why Lumad killings continue.
Bontulan urged the government to stop “arming” IPs and pointed that “as long as they continue to arm the Lumad, killings against Lumad leaders will continue.”