This is in reference to the news article that came out in your paper (March 2, 2016) entitled “Tribal militiamen gather, vow to fight NPA,” with the byline of Williamor Magbanua, Inquirer Mindanao.
In his article, Mr. Magbanua heavily quoted a certain Datu Alim Bandara, whom he identified as a “top leader of one of the militias that calls itself Alamara” and is based in North Cotabato.
We would like to clarify that this Datu Alim Bandara is not the same as Timuay Alim Bandara, a Teduray leader of Timuay Justice and Governance, and who lives in Upi, Maguindanao. Timuay Alim Bandara has recently been in the news in connection with their advocacy on the full inclusion of IP rights within the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. Timuay Alim Bandara has appeared in the hearings on BBL both at the lower house and in the Senate. He has appeared in different dialogues and public forums on the issue of IP rights. He is not a leader of ALAMARA, or any other armed group.
We are not certain if your reporter, Mr. Magbanua was actually in the said gathering in Kidapawan over the weekend, and was able to speak to this certain Datu Bandara, or his article was based on a press release issued by the organizers of the gathering of ALAMARA. Either way, we would have hoped for due diligence in cross-checking names of sources from him, especially as he writes for a prestigious newspaper such as PDI. We have to take note that this comes at a time when the situation in Lumad communities is very volatile and the tension is high. Such mistake causes more confusion, and division among the indigenous peoples. This gross mistake of identifying leaders of such a controversial group such as Alamara can compromise the security of others, particularly in this case, Timuay Alim Bandara.
We hope that PDI will immediately issue a formal correction of the name of “Datu Alim Bandara.”
On behalf of LOYUKAN,
Judith A. Pasimio
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
firstname.lastname@example.org / #09175268341
LOYUKAN is a collective composed of indigenous peoples’ political structures, indigenous peoples organizations, IP and human rights advocates, and NGOs calling for the full inclusion of IP rights within the BBL.