BUTUAN CITY – Burying the remains of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison in the country would be a "big insult" to the victims of New People's Army's (NPA) atrocities, a leader of the indigenous peoples (IPs) in Surigao del Sur province said.
This was according to Datu Rico Maca, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of San Miguel town, following proposal of Sison’s supporters to bring home his ashes in the country.
“I strongly disagree with their proposal to bring the remains of Sison into the country. It’s an insult to the families of the victims of New People’s Army (NPA) executions and killings,” Maca said in an interview Friday.
Marco Valbuena, CPP public information officer, said in a media interview on Dec. 17 that Sison’s remains or ashes should be returned to the country “in accordance to his wishes as a Filipino."
Sison had been on self-exile since 1987 in The Netherlands until his death last Dec. 16.
“I strongly disagree with their proposal to bring the remains of Sison in the country. It’s an insult to the families of the victims of NPA executions and killings,” Maca said in a phone interview on Friday.
As CPP-NPA leader, Maca said Sison was responsible for IP members who were "mercilessly executed by the NPA rebels in the past years."
“We have been crying and praying when will Sison and his henchmen, the notorious NPA rebels, end the killings of IPs. In the hinterlands of Surigao del Sur, these terrorists hunt us like wild boars,” Maca said.
Until now, Maca said the family members of 73-year-old IP leader Datu Bernandino Montenegro Astudillo is still seeking justice for his death.
Astudillo, the Manobo tribal chieftain of Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel town, was hacked to death by NPA rebels in March 2020.
“It’s painful to realize that through the years, Sison has been living comfortably in The Netherlands while his armed followers were butchering the IPs in Surigao del Sur,” Maca said.
It would have been better if Sison was arrested and brought alive to the Philippines to face trial in court, he said.
“He and the terrorist NPA rebels waged an armed struggle that victimized ordinary civilians, destroyed communities, and hampered the development initiatives of the government and the business sectors,” Maca said.
Maca is among the few IP leaders in Surigao del Sur who have been vocal against the intrusions of the NPA rebels in their ancestral lands and the killing of tribesmen.
Anothe IP advocate in the province, Datu Hawudon Jumar Bucales, the IPMR of Lianga town, was killed by the NPA rebels in October 2020.