LICUAN-BAAY, Abra – More than a thousand members and leaders of the Binongan Tribe in this municipality have signed a petition requesting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to maintain and retain the 41st Infantry (Partner for Peace) Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) in Sitio Baquero, Brgy. Nalbuan, this municipality.
In an official communication received by the PIA from the office of Mayor Alejo S. Domingo dated April 25, 2014, he attested that the document titled PAKAAMMO was written in the Ilocano dialect to show that the signatories freely and knowingly was their voluntary decision and act on a collective manner.
The Pakaammo (announcement or declaration) is a petition requesting that the Philippine Army be retained and maintained in the municipality mainly for purposes of augmenting the peace and order and security of the place since it cannot be denied that there are impending threats from the remnants of the New People’s Army especially with the still-unresolved case of the brutal killing the Ligiw family (Ama Licuben and his two sons, Freddie, a former rebel who availed of the reintegration funds of both the national and provincial government; and Eddie, a former partner of the 41st IB in the implementation of their Bayanihan Projects in Malibcong), last March.
The petition likewise stated the people’s appreciation to the 41st IB for its contributions to the communities not only in peace keeping but also in the repair and rehabilitation of school buildings and facilities; construction of various community project like foot bridges, barangay hall, basketball court, and day care centers; their readiness to help in times of disasters; conduct leadership trainings to their youth, and many other needs and activities in the local communities.
The Pakaammo was initiated by the tribal people themselves during the meeting of the Council of Elders which aimed to resolve the Ligiw case.
The militant groups are blaming the Army for the killing of the Ligiws but the military vehemently denied the accusation and instead point their fingers on the NPAs.
In a related development, the four Army soldiers being blamed by militant groups in the Ligiw killing underwent lie detector test while accusers refuse to do the same.
The Abra Provincial Police Office (APPO) had resorted to the use of Polygraph Test (lie detector) to aid their investigation.
However, the Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin Naggapuan (KASTAN) and the Cordillera Human Rights Advocates (CHRA) groups reportedly hesitate to cooperate in the investigation process being carried out by the Abra PNP.
These militant organizations had also refused the “SAPATA” when the residents and attendees offered them such during what they called “National Solidarity Mission” held in Brgy. Dominglay on March 26, 2014 which they themselves facilitated.
The “sapata” is a local and indigenous way of justice system in the Cordilleras that when no one admits responsibility, tribal elders will initiate the rituals where both the suspects and the accusers shall swear a self-imposed punishment.