DAVAO CITY — The Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao denounces the recent killing of an Ata-Manobo civilian in Talaingod, Davao del Norte by the military elements under the 60th Infantry Battalion and Special Forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This recent atrocity against the lumad civilian is related to the relentless military counter-insurgency operations in the hinterlands of Davao Region.
The killing occurred last April 14, 2009 at around past 7:00 AM in Sitio Milansad, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Killed was Kapis Butod, 20 year old son of Datu Subowan Butod, member of Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon (In Defense of Ancestral Lands).
According to the witnesses, around 20 military elements arrived at their community that morning, asking questions which the lumad residents could not understand. The said military elements have searched the house of Datu Butod and when one soldier noticed the wound of Kapis Butod, he immediately accused Kapis as member of the New Peoples Army (NPA).
“I was there when the military suddenly grabbed Kapis and accuse him as NPA just because of the wound in his finger, the military dislocated his finger and thrust his leg with a bolo then pushed Kapis to a coconut tree and my brother was made to embrace the tree and without warning another soldier shot Kapis at his back causing my brother Kapis to die,” Odit Butod, sister of the victim, testified in vernacular.
Lumad victims reported to PASAKA that the military operations started last April 8, 2009. There were at least 4 villages in Brgy Palma Gil, Talaingod which are affected by the recent military operations namely: Damagan, Laboo, Milansad and Dulyan.
“Every time they launched military operations in our community, they never leave our areas without abusing, harassing and threatening us. We have already several agreements with them before with regards to respecting our human rights and yet time and again they kept on violating those agreements, violating our rights. We are crying justice for Kapis Butod and all Ata-Manobo victims of human rights abuses,” Datu Doloman Dawsay, Salupongan ta’ Tanu Igkanugon Spokesperson said.
“We strongly condemn this naked use of terror by the military in disrupting and destroying Lumad communities in the course of implementing Oplan Bantay Laya II. The military has really been expert in sowing fear among the tribes. We are aware of the military’s motive behind all these abuses. The more chaos they cause in the lumad villages, the easier it is for the military and local capitalists to invade our ancestral domains and wrest control from the tribal chieftain(s),” Kerlan Fanagel, PASAKA Secretary General said.
“We challenge the Local Government Unit (LGU), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and all the concerned Government agencies to conduct in-depth and sincere investigation regarding this brutal killing of our lumad brother and the abuses against the Ata-Manobos. 10th Infantry Division must be held accountable for the human rights violations committed by their elements,” Fanagel said.
PASAKA also calls for an end in the atrocious military operations launched by the 10th ID in Talaingod and in all lumad communities in the region.###