COLUMBIO, SULTAN KUDARAT (davaotoday.com) �The son of Tolyano Dalumatan recalled the first time it happened to his father in 2005:
They left home that night to go hunting for frogs. When they got back, they did not know that soldiers were around, so, they (unwittingly) passed in the soldiers� midst and heard the sudden volley of shots aimed at them. Tolyano was hit on his right foot.
Realizing that they hit a civilian, the soldiers belonging to the 25th IB sent Tolyano to the hospital, taking care of the cost of his medication.
On September 10 this year, Tolyano, 38, has just finished planting corn in their farm when he asked his son to go ahead to sitio Colonsabak in Columbio because he still had to cut bamboos near their old house in Talambato, a village in the town of Matanao, Davao del Sur, near the border with Columbio. When Tolyano did not show up in Columbio that night, relatives began to worry.
Revered B�laan Datu Aram Dalumatan and grandson Jomar tells the Columbio parish the tragedy that befell Tolyano, the datu’s son and Jomar’s father. (davaotoday.com photo by Germelina Lacorte)
After two weeks of anxious searching, the family got a text message from someone they did not know: �Kung gusto ninyong makita ang patay�ng lawas ni Tolyano, subaya ninyo ang dalan nga giagihan sa mga sundalo gikan diha sa boundary sa Sitio Tacol ug Bukay Eel.� (If you want to find Tolyano�s body, just follow the trail used by soldiers from the boundary of sitio Tacol and Bukay Eel.)
On October 2, family members and some barangay officials found the disintegrating body of Tolyano half-buried in a fresh mound only 200 meters from where the soldiers were known to have spent the night on September 12. �I know it was him because of what he wore and the shape of his right foot,� the son, Jomar Dalumatan, told Davao Today, referring to his father�s foot that bore the scar of the previous shooting.
He said his father was brutally killed. Tolyano had a stab wound on his chest and his throat had been slit open.
Jomar said that even before his father�s body was found, villagers saw his �sundang� (long knife) used by soldiers passing by Bukay Eel.
Earlier, villagers heard that the place where Tolyano was killed, the area in between sitio Tacul and Bucaya Eel, the sitio known as Lambayon in barangay Sinapulan, Columbio, had been declared a �no man�s land.� �When a place is called a �no man�s land,� it means, that anyone seen in the area is already tagged an NPA (New People�s Army), hence, a fair game for shooting,� said a relative.
Relatives said the soldiers coming from Talambato were seen in the village of Bucay Eel on September 13. Tolyano�s body was found along this route.
The group La Bugal B�laan Tribal Organization said the presence of soldiers has been disrupting the lives of peasants along the boundary areas of Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat. �They could no longer work in their farm freely for fear that something will happen to them,� said Quintol Labuayan, a barangay kagawad and chairperson of La Bugal. �The incident has not only affected Tolyano�s family but also all people in the area whose main source of livelihood comes from the farm,� he said. �They fear that what happened to Tolyano might also happen to them.�
Tolyano and his wife and five children used to live in sitio Talambato, barangay Asbang, in Matanao, Davao del Sur, but the presence of soldiers there had driven them away to Columbio, where Tolyano�s father, B�laan datu Aram Dalumatan, and relatives live. Tolyano tilled a parcel of land along the boundary Davao del Sur and Columbio. That day when he told his son to go ahead to Columbio, he had to go back to their old house in Talambato to cut some bamboos for the walling of their new house in Columbio.
The troops had come all the way from Magsaysay, a town in Davao del Sur also known as Kialeg. �They must have passed by Tolyano in Talambato,� said a relative, �He (Tolyano) didn�t even get to cut bamboos for his house.�
The B�laan group demanded justice for Tolyano�s killing. They asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Church leaders, even the Philippine National Police and the military to go after the perpetrators of the killing. �Tolyano was a victim of indiscriminate firing in 2005,� Labuayan said in a statement. �This second time around, they no longer spared his life.� (Germelina Lacorte/davaotoday.com)