Pro-Government Militias

Pro-Government Militia Website

Documentation for Ilagas

Dec. 2, 1987

A recent study by a Catholic group showed that seven main cults and dozens of smaller organisations across Mindanao had an estimated total of 75,000 members.
Some of the more prominent cults include: The acknowledged pioneer among the armed religious cults, the Ilagas (meaning rats), founded in South Cotabato province in 1967 by Feliciano Luces, alias Commander Toothpick. His fanatical followers helped the military fight Moslems campaigning for self-rule in the early 1970s, and later turned their guns on the communist New People's Army.

Jan. 10, 1988
Sunday Tasmanian

Fanatical religious cults used to quell opposition DIPOLOG, Philippines. - The Master, dressed in black robes, clapped his hands three time to signal the start of the ritual at the Temple of Strength as 11 half-naked young men stood around a large candle.
While chanting elders circled them, the young recruits, clad only in loincloths, held out their arms.
The Master, mumbling phrases in Latin, produced a dagger and proceeded to make incisions in the newcomers' arms and legs.

Residents say that since the time of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos, certain military officials have openly cultivated some of the cults, deputising members as government militiamen and giving them firearms to fight the rebels.
Some of them, like the machete-wielding Tadtad, have made a virtual religion of anti-communism and continue their practices although Mr Marcos was ousted and replaced 21 months ago by President Corazon Aquino.
Military field commanders in Mindanao admit that the fanatical groups are useful to the counter-insurgency drive but the Manila authorities disown the cults and reject any official contact with them.
A recent study by a Roman Catholic group showed that seven main cults and dozens of smaller organisations across Mindanao had an estimated total of 75,000 members.
..The acknowledged pioneer among the armed religious cults, the Ilagas (meaning rats), founded in South Cotabato Province in 1967 by Feliciano Luces, alias Commander Toothpick. His fanatical followers helped the military fight Moslems campaigning for self-rule in the early 1970s and later turned their guns on the communist New Peoples Army and those they suspected of being its sympathise

June 5, 1990
The Jerusalem Post

a pseudo-religious cult broke into a graveyard in the Philippines island of Mindanao and stole kneecaps from the tombs of soldiers and policemen.

The cult make amulets of human kneecaps, believing they possess charms to drive away evil, bring good fortune and make the wearer invincible.

July 18, 1996
The Straits Times (Singapore)

"We are with the Christians, and with the indigenous people," he said, adding that a top commander of the Ilagas and several leaders of indigenous people such as the T'boli tribe had committed themselves to work with the MNLF for peace.

June 14, 1999
Xinhua News Agency

at least 43 people were killed in a five-day gunbattle between some 200 armed raiders and cultists serving as plantation guards in a coconut farmland in the southern philippines, a philippine newspaper said monday. manila standard reported that the fighting broke out between members of ilagas, a cult group in the philippines, and suspected members of the moro islamic liberation front (milf) last monday in inudaran, lanao del norte province in northern mindanao. .. said that 33 cadavers were recovered from the vicinity of the oliverio estate last friday, three days after 10 bodies of slain cult members were retrieved by government troops. the armed members who attacked the cultists were natives of the area, and they took up arms against the wealthy clan who took their ancestral land, the paper said

May 17, 2000

By arming the Cafgus and the Ilagas and other paramilitary units, our government oppresses its own people for the targets of these units are Filipinos, too. By abetting the rapacious loggers, the greedy migrant elite, and the co-opted Muslims and Lumad, our government is a partner in the rape, torture and murder of uncountable innocent civilians.
Our government is waging war on its own people with its propensity for graft and refusal to stem corruption. Our government itself perpetuates the conditions for unrest by not having a cogent policy that would alleviate the continuing dislocations of millions of its own citizens.

May 25, 2000
BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

Koronadal, South Cotabato: Vigilante groups, impatient over government inability to stem Moro secessionist movements, have started attacking suspected rebel supporters in Mindanao.
As intelligence officials identified at least five groups or cults involved in armed attacks against Muslims, local government executives warned against "loose bullets." At least some of the victims, they noted, were known moderates and hardly allied with guerrillas.

A joint patrol by the Civilian Volunteer Organization and the dreaded ILAGA rat , killed last 21st May Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Reformist leader Ting Maulana (a.k.a Kumander Maulana).
While the military reported the incident as a two-hour gunbattle, residents of Barangay Badiangan, Palembang, Sultan Kudarat, insisted the victim had long renounced violence.

Aug. 25, 2000
BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

Cagayan de Oro City: If the claims of a Christian vigilante group are true, President Estrada need not call up 7,000 more CAFGUs Citizen's Armed Forces Geographical Units in Mindanao, and Congress can now end debates on the armed forces request for 30,000 more militiamen to strengthen its counter-insurgency campaign.
"We are ready to serve the government anytime if peace is threatened," xxx, secretary of the Integrated Liberators and Government Advocates (Ilaga) in Northern Mindanao told an ABS-CBN news crew in an unnamed hinterland situated in Bukidnon.
Balongag claims the Ilaga has a national membership of 75,000, over half (40,000) of whom are based in Mindanao.
He showed an ID card marked, "1st Infantry Battalion, Ilaga Armed Forces, 392 FVR (?Fidel Valdez Ramos) Village, Barangay Fatima, General Santos City" with "President xxxSupreme Commander, Ilaga, Inc. and, Inspectorate-General" as signatories.
The card was also inscribed: "To assist GRP Government of the Republic of Philippines , NBI National Bureau of Investigation , police, navy, marines, coast guard, army and other law enforcement agencies in the implementation and enforcement of Philippine laws and order."

Nov. 24, 2001
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

I met him at a police checkpoint on the ragged outskirts of Kidapawan, a town in central Mindanao. Ever was a member of the Ilaga

Ever was officially attached to the police as a civilian volunteer, but his arm patch signalled his true affiliation. It bore a crossed bolo and M-16 against the Philippine flag - the Ilaga insignia. Ever was 38 years old. He had joined the Ilaga at 21 and remembered his initiation as if it was yesterday.
The most recent Ilaga mass initiation ceremony was presided over by its "supreme commander", a woman called Inday Ligaya B. Mombay, better known as Kumander Inday

Jan. 22, 2004
Philippine Daily Inquirer

the resurgence of a vigilante group in the town's outskirt villages.

In an assembly of displaced Muslims here recently, the name of Sariling Command (Sarcom) surfaced.

What made this group fearsome is the allegation that it is the remnant of the dreaded Ilaga group that gained notoriety in the 1970s.

A participant said Sarcom is a counter-insurgency program organized to operate with the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVO) of the town.

July 21, 2006
The International Herald Tribune July 21, 2006

In 2001, I spent a drunken evening ... with one of the militia's self-confessed backers, .. He fired it off, and smiling, said, ''This is for the use of the Ilaga,'' referring to a local vigilante group that made its reputation in the 1980s chopping up its victims.

I remember interviewing an Ilaga member who coolly related how he cut ears off his Communist prisoners.

Aug. 21, 2008
BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

No matter what it appears and what form, the so-called Ilagas (rats) armed group is a creation of the government or at least tolerated by it - and therefore, can control it anytime if needed. The government must held responsible for the acts of this gangster.
This was the reaction of the MILF ...eputy chairman of the MILF committee on information, to alleged Ilaga gangsters interviewed, shown on television and published in Philippine national broadsheets or dailies.
"Rightist groups such as Ilagas cannot exist in the Philippines without the authority or at least the go signal from the dirty trick department of the national security department or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)," he said.
He said as far as the MILF is concerned, this Ilagas is nothing but a conglomeration of Civilian Army Geographical Forces (CAFGUs), Civilian Volunteers Organizations (CVOs), plus the private armies of North Cotabato vice Governor Emmanuel Piool and his cohorts.