PASAKA, a regional formation membering 25 lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao and North Cotobato condemned the military operations in the hinterland villages of Surigao Del Sur which led to the displacement of more than 1,500 Manobo lumads and caused the stoppage of educational activities in the area’s learning centers.
“We join our fellow Lumads in condemning to the strongest terms the mockery of peace perpetrated by the 58th IB in Surigao Del Sur. These palpable acts reveal the inhumane face of the military that does not have any regard for human rights and peace, and their timing couldn’t be any better timed at the civil society’s observation of the Mindanao Week of Peace,” stated Datu Monico Cayog, the Bagobo leader who is now the vice-chairperson of PASAKA.
He added, “The death of a military due to an NPA landmine is not the fault of the civilian communities but every time there is a casualty on the military’s side, the civilian communities always suffer from the military’s vengeful attacks. How then do we consider the military as the peoples’ protectors or defenders of peace?”
Cayog said this renewed assault on lumad communities, especially the red-tagging of communities as supporters of the New Peoples Army, reinforces the implications of the report of United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is the number one violator of human rights.
“As in UNSR Alston’s report and in UNSR on indigenous peoples, the AFP has sown ruthless terror against the people, and almost everyday, thousands upon thousands of lumads have fallen prey to its counter-insurgency policy,” the lumad leader cited
In addition, Cayog addressed the public for humanitarian services for the victims of forcible displacement. “Our lumad brethren in Surigao need all the help from concerned institutions, churches and individuals. While the Arroyo government intensifies its attack on the peoples’ rights and peace, the people must face it with unity and vigilance,” he said.
PASAKA reiterates its reverberating call for peace; stop the militarization in Surigao and in other lumad areas and justice to all victims of human rights. ###
Datu Monico Cayog
PASAKA Documentation/Information Officer:
Contact May at 0929-2658967