DAVAO CITY – A member of the paramilitary group, Alamara, allegedly killed a Grade 3 Manobo student in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte afternoon on Sunday, a child rights group reported.
Rius Valle, spokesperson of Save Our Schools Network in Southern Mindanao said Alibando Tingkas, 15 years old and a Grade 3 student of Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Learning Center Inc. in Sitio Pongpong in Barangay Palma Gil was on his way home to Sitio Bayabas, along with two other companions, when a member of the Alamara shot at them.
In an interview with Davao Today, Valle said the three were passing Sitio Laslasakan when the suspect fired twice. Sitio Bayabas is still a two-hour walk from Sitio Laslasakan, said Valle.
He said the boy was found with two gun shots at his chest, while the two others were able to escape.
“Two gun fires were heard and the student was hit twice. As of now, the school teachers of Salugpungan in Sitio Laslasakan are still securing the victims,” said Valle.
“At around 3:30 pm, the community was only able to retrieve the body when a huge contingent of community members braved to enter the area despite the fears of more attacks from Alamara members,” he said.
Valle said they decided to withhold the name of the companions for security reasons. But he added that the one of the two adult male companions was a relative of the victim and the other is a neighbor.
Valle said community members identified the perpetrator as a certain Joven Salangani, a member of Alamara.
“However we are yet to confirm whether he was alone or with a group,” Valle added.
He added that the killer was from Sitio Barobo, a known Alamara territory where a detachment of the 68th Infantry Battalion was located.
The community believed that the Alamara is organized and was funded by the said unit, said Valle.
He said as a customary practice of the indigenous peoples of burying the body, Tingkas’ body was buried at around 4:00 pm in Sitio Laslasakan “where he died”.
Davao Today tried to contact the Talaingod Municipal Police Office to verify the report. A non-uniformed personnel (NUP) said the police are still in the area to verify the incident.
Meanwhile, Valle said they are condemning the continuing killings of indigenous people, especially the children.
“We are enraged and saddened by this incident. The paramilitary group and their military cohorts will not stop from attacking and even killing lumads in the name of their counter-insurgency operations, even children are not spared anymore” said Valle.
“This only proves that the climate of impunity in the country is worsening,” he said.
Valle said they are renewing their calls to disband the Alamara and all paramilitary groups.
Valle said Tingkas is the 29th child victim of extra judicial killing in the country since the government implemented its counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bayanihan.
He said out of the 29 victims, 20 are from Mindanao.
“This is the result of their continuing and worsening harassment and tagging of lumad schools as NPA schools. Children became direct targets just like what they did in the Lumad schools of Alcadev in Surigao and the Fr. Pops’ Memorial School in White Culaman in Bukidnon last year,” said Valle.
He recounted the killings of the school head and two lumad leaders in the September 1 massacre in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and also the forcible closure and demolition of a Fr. Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio memorial school in Kitaotao, Bukidnon.
“It is part of the AFP’s counter-insurgency plan and these schools have long been accused as NPA run-schools to legitimize their attack and continuously avoid being held accountable,” he said.
“Just now we have been informed that teachers of Salugpongan school in all over Talaingod have received threats from Alamara. They said they will kill teachers in Sitio Tibucag, Sitio Nasilaban, Sitio Dulyan and Sitio Kamingawan on preposterous claims that these teachers are NPA members” Valle said.
Valle said they are urging the local government unit of Talaingod to immediately investigate the issue and apprehend the suspect.
Hundreds of indigenous peoples from Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte province are still occupying the evacuation center in the church-owned compound here after almost a year since they evacuated.
The IPs said they flee their communities because of the threats they receive from the paramilitary groups and the military who are occupying their communities. (davaotoday.com)