BAGUIO CITY, Nov. 10 (PIA) -- The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Cordillera regional office led the recognition of the heroism and sacrifices of Cordilleran soldiers and police officers in the Marawi siege during the culmination of the National Indigenous Peoples Month and the 20th Indigenous Peoples Rights Act celebration last week.
NCIP-CAR Regional Director Ronald Calde said that as the bereaved families of the fallen soldiers and police officers mourn the death their loved ones, the Cordillera region thru the officials and representatives of local government units, regional line agencies and the elders of the different ethno-linguistic groups gathered to give tribute and recognition to the Cordilleran troops and to the fallen heroes of the Marawi conflict.
Elders performed rituals with the butchering of a native pig and chicken and offering of prayers for the eight fallen Cordillera troopers during ceremonies at the PFVR Gymnasium. “Hunga ti matago”, a thanksgiving ritual and at the same time prayer for good luck and protection was also done.
Calde together with NCIP Commissioner Basilio Wandag, Cordilleran businessman and keynote speaker Atty. Alexander Bangsoy, with the local chief executives and the regional line agency representatives awarded plaques of commendation in recognition to the invaluable sacrifices and heroism of the Cordilleran troops during their tour of duty in Marawi in the past five months.
The plaques were received by PNP-Special Action Force Public Information Officer PSI. Jonalyn Butic Malnat in behalf of the families of the fallen soldiers and policemen.
Malnat, a native of Ifugao, thanked the NCIP and the entire Cordillera region for the recognition of the Cordillera troops who were instrumental in liberating the city of Marawi from the Maute ISIS terror group.
During the program, the Philex Mining Corporation also turned over 100 packs of locally grown and produced coffee to the PNP-SAF troopers.
The Cordillera Binnadang Fund Drive for the Marawi heroes from the region was also launched. Igorot entrepreneur Alexander Bangsoy said that a group of Cordillerans has started the fund drive to provide immediate financial assistance to the families of the Cordillera soldiers and police officers who were killed in Marawi.
Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag expressed gratitude to the Igorot soldiers who fought in Marawi conflict and also to their families for providing moral support.
“We are grateful to our fellow Igorots who did not leave Marawi and fought until the end to help gain the liberation of Marawi,” she said during an interview. She said the government has no words to express its gratitude to all the soldiers who supported the government’s and the whole country’s fight against the terrorists.
Banaag also related the PCOO’s recent visit in Marawi where she personally met Cordilleran soldiers, “If there is anything I can say, its more than thank you, I can never thank you enough. The President said, this government, can never thank you enough with your sacrifices to your country.” (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)