Lawmaker's daughter killed in Surigao del Sur clash

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — The daughter of a Party-list representative was killed in a clash between government troops and NPA forces on Saturday, Nov. 28.

In a statement on Sunday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said 22-year-old Jevilyn Campos Cullamat, alias "Ka Reb", died in an encounter between the 3rd Special Forces "Arrowhead" Battalion and rebel forces in Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag.

Cullamat is the daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Campos Cullamat.

Several former rebels confirmed the younger Cullamat's identity. The Army report said she served as a medic for the New People's Army and that she belonged to he Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) Platoon of Guerilla Front 19, Northeastern Regional Committee (NEMRC).

Cullamat's body was immediately moved following the incident and her family was informed of what happened.

In a separate statement, Rep. Cullamat said she was proud of her daughter, adding that she is a hero to Lumads and the country.

"Mahal ko ang anak ko na nagmahal sa bayan. Ipinagmalalaki ko siya. Bayani siya ng mga Lumad at ng buong bayan. Bilang isang ina, basag ang puso ko ngayon sa balitang nasawi ang anak kong si Jevilyn sa isang insidente sa Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. Matindi ang aking pagdadalamhati sa pagkapaslang ng aking bunsong anak," she said.

[Translation: I love my child who loved the country. I am proud of her. She is a hero to the Lumads and the country. As a mother, my heart is shattered today from the news of Jevilyn's death from an incident in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. I deeply grieve over the death of my youngest child.]

She also called out how her daughter's remains were displayed like a trophy by the military.

"Hindi siya bagay. Hindi siya isang tropeo na ipaparada para lamang sa propaganda ng militar. Hindi niyo na ginalang ang patay, binabastos pa ninyo ang nagluluksa naming pamilya."

[Translation: She is not an object. She is not a trophy that can be displayed for the military's propaganda. You did not only disrespect the dead, you are also insulting our grieving family.]

She said her daughter's decision to join the armed movement was not easy, but brought about by the rampant abuse and poverty experienced by Lumads. Despite the pain of her loss, Rep. Cullamat said she respected the choice her daughter made.

"Walang pag-alinlangan kong sasabihin ito: ipinagmamalaki ko si Jevilyn dahil lumaban siya sa isang sistemang mapang-api lalo na sa aming mga Lumad. Walang nanay na magtatakwil sa anak na nagsantabi ng pansariling interes at nag-alay ng kanyang buhay para sa bayan at para sa pagdepensa sa aming lupang ninuno."

[Translation: I say this without hesitation: I am proud of Jevilyn because she fought against an abusive system, especially to us Lumads. No mother would disown a child who set aside her own interests and sacrificed her life for the country and to defend our ancestral land.]

In its statement, the AFP said the killing of Lianga Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Datu Jumar S. Bucales in October allegedly by the NPA angered tribal communities in the province.

"We will never stop the fight against these NPA terrorists until none of them roams in our ancestral lands. They have destroyed our culture and tradition and caused divisiveness and corrupted our tribe," said Alexander Bucales, brother of the slain Datu Bucales, and the newly-installed and clan-elected IPMR of Lianga.

Among the items recovered at the site were high-powered firearms, improvised explosive devices, rifle magazines, mobile phones, and subversive documents.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Allan D. Hambala, Commander of the AFP's 401st Infantry Brigade, extended his condolences to the family of Rep. Cullamat and called to a stop of the exploitation of indigenous peoples.