DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The PASAKA Lumad Confederation blamed the deployment of several Army battalions in the hinterlands of Talaingod in Davao Del Norte and Bukidnon for the displacement and alleged human rights violations to the Manobo tribe.
At present, according to PASAKA, three battalions, the 72nd IB, 56th IB and 88th IB, conduct heavy military operations especially in the areas covered by Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon.
“The massive deployment of troops under the Duterte government is not a new occurrence given the active resistance of Salugpongan against economic plunder. The Pantaron range is rich in natural and mineral resources.Salugpongan’s defense of human rights is met by the government’s heavy deployment for several government administrations,” PASAKA said.
“The 72nd IB has been involved in the recruitment of CAFGU and ALAMARA,a paramilitary group.On the other hand, since its deployment in Talaingod, the 56th IB conducted a month long operation in the 18 communities in Talaingod.Along with this is the conduct of Re-engineered Special Operations Team (RSOT) or Community Operations for Peace and Development (COPD) on selected areas while setting up military Headquarters, Detachment or Patrol Base in Sitios Milyong, Barobo, Cabadiangan, Daligdigon, Banuog, JBL, Basak and Brgy. Sto. Nino of Talaingod, ” the tribal group added.
The group pointed out that for the last three months, military operations focused on the following areas: Nasilaban, Igang, Natampod, Sambolongan, Lasakan, Tibukag, Km.17, Km. 25, Km. 31, Km. 39, Piroy, Mirato; Mibolo, Quary, Bolo ug Bugni.
“The recurring incidents of forcing lumad to surrender accused as members of the New People’s Army,hamletting,threatening them in community meetings,enticing them to surrender NPAs for money as bounty, encampment in schools and houses–these are the human rights violations brought about by the AFP’s counter-insurgency campaign,” Datu Kaylo Buntolan,a Lumad leader of the Salugpungan Tat Tanu Igkanugon said.
Buntolan added that more than 500 residents coming from 9 communities of Talaingod had evacuated to Davao City and Tagum,Davao del Norte due to the intense military operations.
On the other hand, PASAKA denounced the military’s manipulation of the Tribal Council led by Datu Lumansad Sibugan for the declaration of “pangayaw” towards the tribal leaders of Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon whom he accused as supporters of the New People’s Army.
“A carrot and stick method is being used among us,” Jong Monzon,secretary general of PASAKA said.
Datu Guibang Apoga surfaced recently after hiding for two decades due to trumped up charges.
Leaders said he was held “hostage” by military authorities and para-military group headed by Andigao Agay.
“We call on the Duterte government on the immediate pull-out of troops in Talaingod.Salugpongan will continue to defend the ancestral domain against the economic plan of mining,oil palm plantation and hydro power plant in the ranges of Pantaron”,the group stressed.
The Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon was organized by the datus in 1993 to oppose the operations of a logging company, C. Alcantara & Sons in Talaingod. Founded by Datu Guibang Apoga, the datus of Salugpongan waged a pangayao (tribal war) against the company, killing and injuring security guards. Their struggle led to the delineation of 19,000 hectares of their ancestral lands, protected from the commercial logging.
Meanwhile,Rius Valle,spokesperson of the Save our Schools Network that forcing Lumads to surrender and the continuous harassment in Lumad communities is a brazen attack on the existing Lumad schools.
“Accusing Lumad schools as “rebel schools” directly attack the right to education and other community initiatives for genuine development such as sustainable organic farms and community health clinics”,Valle added.
The latest incident monitored by the group is the encampment of 40 elements of the 56th Infantry Battallion and paramilitary group ALAMARA on June 07 in the Salugpongan Community Learning Center in Sitio Tibukag,Brgy Dagohoy,Talaingod,Davao del Norte.
Students and teachers have identified among them Rodel “Ang-angoy” Butanlog who was allegedly involved in an attempted killing of teacher Ramel Miguel on June 20,2017 wounding a 16 year old student in Sitio Nasilaban,Brgy Palma Gil,Talaingod Davao del Norte.
Moreover,Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous Peoples and Peasants said that the paradigm of development by Duterte runs contrary to the Manobo’s defending their ancestral domain and the Pantaron range.
The Pantaron range was given scientific recognition by biogeographers making it a part of a wider biogeographic zone called “Pantaron Biogeographic Subregion”, a broad zone of complex mountain ranges with unique flora and fauna,running from north to south of Mindanao,forming a kind of biocultural backbone of the region.
“The value of Pantaron is now threatened,as the Duterte administration made pronouncements during the IP summit in February that he will select investors to IP areas;offering them relocation and cash assistance,” Rev. Daniel Palicte,Vice Chairperson of SAGIPP said. (davaotoday.com)