Both are named Alim Bandara but they are not the same person
The news article titled “Tribal militiamen gather, vow to fight NPA,” (Across the Nation, 3/2/16) mentioned a certain Datu Alim Bandara, who was identified as a “top leader of one of the militias that calls itself Alamara,” which is based in North Cotabato.
We would like to clarify that Datu Alim Bandara is not the same person as Timuay Alim Bandara, a Teduray leader of Timuay Justice and Governance, who lives in Upi, Maguindanao. The latter has recently been in the news in connection with his group’s advocacy for the full inclusion of indigenous peoples’ (IP) rights in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Timuay appeared in the hearings on the BBL both at the House of Representatives and the Senate. He has appeared in different dialogues and public forums on the issue of IP rights. And he is not a leader of Alamara or any armed group.
We are not certain if Inquirer reporter Williamor Magbanua was actually in the Kidapawan gathering he referred to in his report and if he did speak to Datu Alim Bandara; or if his article was merely based on a press release issued by the organizers of the Alamara gathering. Either way, we expected him to exercise due diligence in cross-checking the names in his report, especially as he writes for a prestigious newspaper. It must be noted that this comes at a time when the situation in lumad communities is very volatile and the tension is high. Such mistake causes more confusion and division among the indigenous peoples. This gross mistake of identifying leaders of such a controversial group such as Alamara can compromise the security of others, in this case, Timuay Alim Bandara’s.
—JUDITH A. PASIMIO, coordinator, Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), member, Loyukan
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Sowing confusion among the IPs in Mindanao and elsewhere was never my intention. Datu Alim and Timuay may carry “Alim Bandara” in their names, but it was clear that my report referred to Datu Alim of the Alamara, not to Timuay the Teduray leader.
My story was based on a phone interview with Datu Alim, conducted Feb. 25 (a day prior to the IP gathering in Matalam) and aired live over dxND Radyo Bida in Kidapawan City, which I anchored. Personally, I have met neither Datu Alim nor Timuay. But I have heard the latter in an earlier interview by a colleague and he definitely sounded quite different from Datu Alim.
I hope this clears the matter up.
—WILLIAMOR A. MAGBANUA, correspondent, Inquirer Mindanao
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