DAVAO CITY – Around 500 individuals joined the delegation from Davao and North Cotabato for a three-day mercy mission in Barangay White Culaman in Kitaotao, Bukidnon to “give assistance to victims of militarization” in the area.
Dubbed as Help! Kitaotao, Bukidnon, the mission which started today will document cases of human rights violations in the area and to give relief assistance for the victims.
Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations said 57 households in Barangay White Culaman were ransacked by Army members last month, while 16 persons were arrested including minors.
The children aged 2, 5 and 7 years old, and a mother who has an 7-month old child were later released.
On August 28, the Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command said they served 57 search warrants in Barangay White Culaman early morning of August 26.
“The arrested 12 suspected NPA personalities are now in custody of local PNP for further investigation and for filling of cases,” said Capt. Alberto Caber, chief of Public Information Office.
Caber said the composite teams from the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion and 4th Infantry Division, and the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Public Safety Company recovered “(a)t least one improvised M16 rifle; one M79 grenade launcher; three rifle grenades; two unexploded improvised explosive device (IEDs); detonator, blasting caps; assorted ammunition; and subversive documents.”
Isidro Indao, spokesperson of KMK, however, said that those who were arrested are their relatives, “and they are all civilians”.
In a press conference held at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound on Wednesday morning, Pasaka Secretary General Jong Monzon said that they are holding the mission “to relieve the situation of their fellow lumads in the area.”
He said the Lumads in Kitaotao “need to know that they are not alone in this struggle, in their call to pull out military troops in their community.””We are going to the communities affected to see their situation first hand,” he said. “We will not abandon our fellow lumads,” Monzon added.
The mercy mission is initiated by Promotion of Church People’s Response in Southern Mindanao, Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous Peoples and Peasants (Sagipp), and Pasaka.
The said activity is in partnershp with different peasant organizations such as the Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Kitaotao (KMK), Tinananon, Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Arakan (Tikulpa), and the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Barangay White Culaman (Namabaw). (davaotoday.com)