GMA orders probe of S. Kudarat land conflict

Sultan Kudarat Rep. Datu Pax Mangudadatu (1st District) said the President specifically directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Agrarian Reform to form a panel that will investigate the decades-old land ownership row in Barangay Sangay, Kalamansig.

He said the peace and order problem in Kalamansig was among the major concerns discussed during a briefing and consultation on Region 12's security situation and the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held at the Department of Public Works and Highways regional office here this afternoon. 

"We are supporting the creation of this task force because the national government's intervention is very crucial here. This conflict has continued unsettled for many years and many lives had been lost because of it, so it must end now," Mangudadatu said.

 

The congressman said the conflict in Barangay Sangay, which has spread to nearby Barangay Paril, stemmed from the separate claims made by Moro and Christian settlers during the 1930s on some 24 hectares of land in the area.

He said the family of Usman Moro allegedly first applied for ownership of the disputed land sometime in 1932.

But in 1936, he said another application was supposedly made by the Cabaluna family, who eventually settled in the area.

Mangudadatu said such conflicting claims triggered violent confrontations between the parties, the latest of which was the series of attacks on civilian communities in the area launched by members of the MILF led by Commander Boyet, who is reportedly an heir of the Moro claimants. 

Since January 3, the rebels launched several attacks and burned Christian churches and houses of civilians in Barangays Paril and Sangay. The attacks triggered sporadic clashes in the area between the rebels and government troops.

Kalamansig Mayor Roland Garcia said at least 7,000 residents have evacuated from Barangays Paril and Sangay, which have now turned into ghost villages. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)

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