Rep. Cullamat on daughter slain in clash with troops: “bayani siya ng mga Lumad at ng buong bayan”

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 29 November) — Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat confirmed on Sunday that her 22-year old youngest daughter who had earlier joined the New People’s Army (NPA), was killed in an encounter with government troops in Surigao del Sur on Saturday.

“Mahal ko ang anak ko na nagmahal sa bayan. Ipinagmalalaki ko siya. Bayani siya ng mga Lumad at ng buong bayan” (I love my daughter who loved her country. I am proud of her. She was a hero to the Lumads and the country),  Cullamat said in a statement Sunday night.

The party-list representative said her daughter joined the NPA to fight injustices against the Lumad (Indigenous Peoples).

Marihata, Surigao del Sur. Courtesy of GoogleMaps

Brig. Gen. Allan Hambala, commander of the Army 401st Infantry Brigade commander, said a 12-man team from the 3rd Army Special Forces Battalion managed to sneak into the temporary camp site set up by the rebels in the mountains near Marihatag town in Surigao del Sur last Saturday.

“The rebels numbering around 30 put up an intense firefight for 45 minutes before withdrawing,” Hambala told MindaNews in a telephone interview.

The military released a photo of the alleged body of Jevilyn with an M16 rifle clinging to her chest.

Hambala said the soldiers brought Jevilyn’s body to Barangay Mararag in Marihatag where a younger brother and relatives claimed the remains.

Hambala said the soldiers seized three AK-47 rifles, one M14 rifle, and one M653 5.56 caliber rifle; four improvised explosive devices, phones and backpacks containing foodstuff.

He said Jevilyn alias “Ka Reb”, was the medic of a Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) platoon of the Guerilla Front 19, Northeastern Regional Committee.

Hambala offered his condolences to Rep. Cullamat for the loss of her youngest daughter. He said violence will not help the Lumads attain the justice they yearn

“We send our sincerest condolences to the Cullamat family. We are saddened because we know that she and her family were just victims to the CNTs’ destructive and pointless ideology. While there are issues concerning the IPs, violent, armed, and terrorist struggle will never be the right solution to it,” Hambala said.

In a statement released Sunday night, Cullamat called on the military not to make the remains of her daughter a trophy in the propaganda war.

Cullamat appealed to the military to allow her family to pays their last respects to Jevilyn,

“Mahal na mahal ko si Jevilyn. Isa siyang tahimik at mabait na anak. Pinalaki namin siya na maging makabayan, matapang, at may sariling pag-iisip at paninindigan” (I love Jevilyn very much. She was a quiet and good child. She grew up to be a nationalist, courageous, independent-minded and principled), Cullamat said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)