Davao City — The group of tribal leaders who declared a pangayaw (tribal warfare) against the New People’s Army guerillas and barred the entry of a fact-finding group to farflung communities in Kapalong, Davao Del Norte are members of the Army’s auxiliary forces and have been receiving orders from them, said the indigenous people’s group Karadyawan.
Karadyawan Spokesperson Lito Sampag said the awarding of honors by the Army’s 10th Infantry Division to the “tribal leaders” as members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) is a “clear proof that the so-called tribal leaders are only acting upon the orders of the military.”
Sampag said Larris Masaloon, the group’s leader “is not a Datu (traditional leader) but an Alamara-Cafgu who is being used by the military so they can enter our communities.”
Masaloon, who appeared in a televised interview last month surrounded by spear-weilding men, declared a pangayaw (tribal warfare) against New People’s Army rebels.
Masaloon also later headed the signing of more than a hundred individuals of a manifesto barring non-government organizations in their ancestral domain after a human rights group attempted to conduct a fact-finding mission in the area.
Sampag, whose identity was also questioned in the manifesto, said it “was signed by Datus because they were informed that they will be given two kilos of rice.”
Major General Eduardo M. Año awarded Ongging Masaloon, Aurelio Masaloon, Macoy Ugail, Jonathan Liruan, Noel Warag, Allan Ompocanon, Larry Masaloon, Micmic Casiano and their group leader Corporal Lito Masaloon with “Military Merit Medals” in a ceremony in Asuncion, Davao del Norte last September 15.
In a statement sent to the media, the 10th ID said that the CAAs “were involved in a successful offensive operation in Sitio Poton, Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong Davao del Norte in the evening of September 14, where three bodies of New People’s Army members were recovered.”
The CAAs were also said to have recovered three high-powered firearms including one M16 5.56mm rifle, one AK47 7.62mm rifle and one M1 Garand .30 caliber rifle.
Sampag said “they do not know what they are doing and must be convinced to stop serving the military.”
“They are my kin. I do not want them to become pawns of the military in its fight against the NPA (New People’s Army). All of us lumads only want peace, to go to our farms and send our children to school,” said Sampag.
Sampag also called on Kapalong Mayor Eduardo Timbol to “respond to the needs of the communities who have stopped farming because they are threatened by the presence of the military.”
“I also call on the military to stop using us. Stop mocking us and our culture by using our practices such as the pangayaw (tribal warfare) to make us fight each other,” said Sampag.
Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan accused the 60th Infantry Battalion as the one who “organized and armed the Alamara.”
“Loud and clear, 60th IB-10th ID AFP is accountable for all the atrocities in Kapalong, with the arming of IPs in the area and synchronization with Mayor Edgardo Timbol, MDRRMC Gaspar Balinggao and the NCIP. This is Oplan Bayanihan unmasked in Kapalong,” said Hanimay Duazo, Karapatan Southern Mindanao spokesperson.
Sampag said they already sent a letter to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to interve in their situation being the Davao Region Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chief.
In an interview Duterte said he has yet to be updated of the situation in the area.(davaotoday.com)