DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) — A Lumad student was shot dead by a member of the military auxiliary force Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit on Friday, March 15 in Talaingod town, Davao del Norte, the Save Our School Network reported on Monday.
SOS Network spokesperson Rius Valle identified the victim as Jerome Pangadas, a resident of Sitio Kamingawan, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod.
Valle confirmed Pangadas is a Grade 6 student enrolled at the Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center (STTICLC).
He said the SOS Network received the report about the killing on Monday from the local villagers.
Pangadas, the report said, was watching television inside a house of a certain Andomeng in a nearby village of Sitio Milyon, Barangay Sto. Niño when a CAFGU member indiscriminately opened fire his service firearm on Friday last week, at around 6:00 p.m.
The CAFGU member was identified by the villagers as Eroy Balentin.
Details of the incident as reported by villagers said Balentin was under the influence of alcohol during the incident and was threatening to kill Andomeng and a certain Umow.
He then opened fire at the house of Andomeng and hit Pangadas at the head killing him on the spot.
Another unidentified resident was wounded during the attack, Valle added.
Villagers reported that Balentin’s motive could be related to land issue or the continued refusal of Andomeng and Umow to join the CAFGU or the paramilitary group.
However, Capt. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, clarified that the suspect of the incident was identified as Jimmy Valentine, younger brother of Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) member Eroy Valentine (Eroy Balentin).
Talaingod Police reported that the incident took place on the evening of February 7 and not March 15 as reported by SOS Network at Purok 25, Sitio Milyong, Barangay Sto. Niño, in Talaingod.
In a report from the blotter of Talaingod Police Station, Pangadas along with residents Andomy Lumasay and Rolly Dadong were watching television at the house of Eroy Valentine. Lumasay and Eroy got drunk when the incident happened.
The report added: “The brother of Eroy (Jimmy) believes that they (Eroy and Lumasay) had a heated arguments [sic] that made him angry and suddenly took his homemade shotgun and further shot Andomy Lumasay.”
Lumasay and Dadong sustained gunshot wounds and were brought to the Kapalong District Hospital.
Meanwhile, Pangadas was shot at his face and lower neck killing him instantly.
SOS reiterates call to disband paramilitary
The SOS Network slammed the government’s anti-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan being implemented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The program, Valle said, targets Lumad residents to join the paramilitary group that is being supported by the military. Valle added that Lumad residents who are already members of the paramilitary are tasked to recruit more Lumad to the group.
The continued imposition of martial law in Mindanao has also intensified military operations in rural areas and targets children especially those who are studying in Lumad schools, the SOS Network said.
Valle also criticized the AFP and President Duterte for the attacks and the red-tagging the Lumad schools in Mindanao.
He added that last year, members of the military-backed paramilitary group Alamara forcibly closed 14 Salugpongan schools affecting 533 students in Talaingod town.
“Dili sya collateral damage kundili nahimo siyang target sa ka pasista ug grabe na human rights violations na nasinati sa mga kalumaran sa Mindanao,” said Valle.
(Pangadas was not mere collateral damage but a target of fascism and rampant human rights violations against the Lumad communities in Mindanao.)
On September 5, 2017, STTICLC Grade 6 student Obillo Bay-ao was also shot dead by known members of CAFGU and Alamara in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod.
Valle said they are renewing their calls to disband all paramilitary groups and stop the “forcible recruitment” of Lumad civilians to CAFGU.
He urged the public to condemn the said incident and urge the government to lift the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
He also called on SOS network members for support as the family of Pangadas has no capacity to file legal charges against the perpetrator. (davaotoday.com)