DAVAO CITY–The camp of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and the tribal groups in the disputed lands here have agreed to resolve the alleged land grabbing issues involving the influential Christian sect.
Lt. Col Oscar Partuza, the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Battalion, on Wednesday said Quiboloy’s group and the Council of Elders of the Bagobo-Klata tribe will discuss next week the technical description of the disputed areas in Tamayong, Calinan District.
Quiboloy’s Jesus Christ: The Name Above Every Name maintains two facilities on lands being claimed by the tribe.
Partuza said the first meeting between the two camps were held on August 27, wherein both sides agreed to settle the long-running land conflict peacefully. Quiboloy’s camp, he added, was represented by Barangay Kagawad Benjie Villanueva.
During the first meeting, Partuza said both sides were able to settle several matters, such as the size of the area that Quiboloy has acquired from the tribe in Tamayong.
Partuza said Quiboloy himself has personally expressed hope to finally put an end to the land dispute issue, which in the past has resulted in allegations of harassment and violent acts perpetrated by the sect.
Quiboloy’s name was even dragged in the killing of tribal leader Dominador Diarog and the wounding of his wife in a strafing incident on April 29, 2008 in Sitio Kahusayan, Manuel Guianga. The televangelist has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident.
Quiboloy has maintained that the issue was merely exploited by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area to sow chaos divisions.
Partuza said the Army wants to resolve the issue so that the area can finally be developed, have access to government services, and its farm-to-market roads improved.
“Pastor Quiboloy wants true reconciliation,” Partuza said, adding that the dialogue is the best course of action.
He said the next meeting will be conducted in the presence of representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Public Attorney’s Office, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Earlier, NCIP Provincial Officer Cristito Ingay lauded the 3rd IB commander for facilitating the meeting between Quiboloy and the tribal leaders. (Lilian C Mellejor/PNA)