Salde Tayuba and other members of Bentangan's CVO return to their village after a morning patrol. Since 1997, 100 men from the area have armed themselves to protect their ancestral domain from incursions by cattle rustlers and land grabbers.

Philippines
The Arumanen Manuvu
Indigenous People

Photos by:
Ryan Anson

Jonathan Barat scans the hillsides near Bentangan for potential intruders. Barat is one of four CVO militiamen who provide daily security for farmers when they 
work in their fields. Although Bentangan's predominantly Arumanen Manuvu residents once enjoyed harmonious relationships with their Muslim neighbors, the 2000 war aggravated tensions along ethnic and religious lines, and eventually led to an influx of arms in the area.

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To the Arumanen Manuvu community in Central Mindanao, the village of Bentangan is a sacred place. Not only is it the ancestral home of this indigenous group of people, it also houses the gimukods (souls of the great ancestors and elders), and the different lumuna (the goddesses of the earth)...

During the Guana ceremony, Barangay Chairman Dahel Mamporok, left, and Temu-ay  Apolonio Panday ask Franklin Salilin about the possibility of increased violence in the area after recent clashes between CVO militias and rogue MILF forces left several people dead in the nearby village of Rancho. Copyright Information

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Ukat Ancosin, a farmer and member of Bentangan's CVO, grazes his carabaw with the aided protection of a 30 Calibre M1 rifle.  In spite of Langkat's rejection of all forms of violence, the theft of more than 30 carabaws and a couple of a massacres in the late 1990s compelled the men to take up arms to protect their property and livestock.