DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Members of the indigenous group KATRIBU staged a protest rally on Friday in front of the Department of National Defense in Manila in the wake of escalated attacks against the farmers and IP communities across the country.
“With the AFP’s all-out war, the viciousness of the AFP has worsened in Agusan and Surigao, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Bukidnon, Iloilo, Mindoro Oriental, Rizal, Quezon, Kalinga, Ifugao, Abra, and Cagayan,” KATRIBU Secretary General Piya Macliing-Malayao said in a statement.
Macliing-Malayao said that in March alone, the government’s security forces bombarded “peasant and indigenous peoples communities” which caused thousands to abandon their communities.
“The murderous rampage of the AFP must be stopped,” she said.
According to Katribu, on March 11, the Army’s 46th and 72nd Infantry Battalions including the 1001st Brigade bombed the villages of Del Pilar, Cabuyuan, Panggibiran and Cadunanang in Compostela Valley. The aerial bombing consequently displaced around 75 families evacuated, including Lumad from Mansaka communities.
The group also reported similar incident in Malibcong, Abra where 56 families with 200 children from the Mabaca, Banao and Gubang indigenous communities have been affected after the military troops of 24th Infantry Battalion bombed the communities on March 16. The bombing caused a massive destruction to the fields and forced schools to suspend their classes.
Also, on March 30, at least 16 bombs were dropped by the 203rd Infantry Brigade in the villages of Karumata and Kalungbuyan, Brgy. Benli in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, affecting at least 250 families from Hanunuo indigenous communities, according to the tribal group.
The following day, on March 31, the Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion canon fired Brgy. Tagbinunga in Mati, Davao Oriental with at least 5 bombs.
KATRIBU said 170 families forcibly evacuated their communities including the Lumad from Mandaya communities.
“The AFP is anti-people, treating farmers and indigenous peoples as enemies and is a scourge in the countryside. Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan is proving to be as vicious as Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan,” Katribu said.
She urged AFP “to stop its all-out war against and the people, and for the GRP peace panel to sincerely discuss and agree on substantial socio-economic reforms with the NDFP to address the roots of poverty and conflict in the country,” Macliing-Malayao said.
Meanwhile, members of the PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao also slammed the AFP’s offensive operations against the farmers and IP communities.
The group is in Manila this week to call on the government to address the increasing human rights violations especially in Davao region where the group claimed over 5,000 civilians in the areas of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and Davao del Norte, and Sarangani provinces were displaced because of AFP’s military airstrikes.
Earlier, Kerlan Fanagel chairperson of PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao had called for a military pull-out and a halt of the military airstrikes.
“For almost a year, we have been waiting for President Duterte’s promise of making the Lumad bakwits return to their homes as part of his promise for change. But until now, Lumad still bear the brunt of military’s ire over the failed ceasefire truce with the NDFP last February,” Fanagel said. (davaotoday.com)