2 More Paquibato Residents Killed as Bandits Continue Rampage

Mar. 20, 2006

By Cheryll D. Fiel

DAVAO CITY — Two more residents in Paquibato were killed last week, the latest in the spate of killings in the hinterland district allegedly perpetrated by a bandit group that has ties to the military.

The victims, who came from different areas in Malabog, a village in Paquibato, had been stabbed; one of them, a 25-year-old man identified only as Luciano, was slashed in the neck. The other victim, Reynaldo Caete, 35, also lost his carabao to the killers.

Generoso Baon, an official of Malabog, told the GMA-7 news program Testigo that the bandits had been running amok after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte announced a bounty for their capture.

The residents of seven sitios (hamlets) in Malabog, according to Baon, had already evacuated after the bandits vowed to kill more people. He said the recent killings have displaced about 200 families.

The human-rights Karapatan said that, according to the families of victims they talked to in a recent fact-finding mission, the perpetrators were members of Alamara, a group of Lumad bandits allegedly formed by the military to fight the communist New Peoples Army, which operates in Paquibato.

The Alarama are Lumad fanatics armed by the military and are being used in the counter-insurgency campaign, said Kelly Delgado, spokesman of Karapatan for Southern Mindanao.

In February, Filemon and Trinidad Quirante were stabbed to death while Sulpicio Birol, a villager councilor in Mapula vilalge, was shot to death. Delgado said the Alamara was also allegedly behind these murders.

There have been reports that the Alamara was being used in Paquibato to drive away non-Lumads so that the Lumads there could sell or lease their ancestral-domain land titles to business interests, mainly mining and banana plantation companies.

Councilor Jimmy Dureza, chairman of the City Councils Committee on Peace and Public Safety, has called the attention of the military to the crisis, noting that the armed forces seem unresponsive. “I can’t understand why up to now they have not made any action on this. In fact, the residents are complaining that they (the military) are not doing anything,” Dureza said, according to the Mindanao Times.

Delgado, in an interview with davaotoday.com, said it would indeed be very difficult for the military to find and capture the bandits as they themselves are the ones coddling them.

He added that it would be impossible for soldiers not to get the Alamara considering that the military has countless detachments in Paquibato. Delgado also challenged the police authorities to hunt down the bandits.

Task Force Davao (TDF) commander Col. Eduardo del Rosario had repeatedly said that there is no Alamara in Paquibato and that all members of the Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographic Unit (Cafgus) in the area are “legitimate.” He accused the NPA of sowing intrigue and propaganda in Paquibato to discredit the military.

Davao City police chief Catalino Cuy has ordered the chief of the Malabog police to coordinate with the Philippine Army in “investigating” the deaths in the district. (Cheryll D. Fiel/davaotoday.com)

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