A statement demanding justice & accountability for the human rights violations victims in Talaingod

Mar. 15, 2008

Based on the Interfaith Peace & Mercy Mission

Held from February 22-24, 2008 in Sitio Dulyan,

Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod Davao Del Norte

On January 6, 2008, intense military operations were conducted by the 73rd Infantry Battalion and the Army Scout Rangers in the remote areas of Talaingod, Davao Del Norte.

Aerial bombings, army foot patrols, and combat operations greatly alarmed the Ata- Manobo residents causing them to flee their homes and seek refuge in the forests.

So alarming were the reports on the consequent human rights violations that followed, hence, PASAKA, SAGIP and its network organizations through the help of schools, churches, foundations and other concerned individuals immediately responded to the plea of the victims for assistance and intervention.

On February 22-24, 2008, a group of advocates from different organizations launched an Interfaith Mercy Mission in Sitio Dulyan, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod.

Based on the medical, psycho-social and factfinding activities conducted, the mission team came up with the following findings:

I. On the health situation of the Ata-Manobo lumads:

The Ata-Manobos of Talaingod live in a state of abject poverty, suffering from lack of basic social services, most especially accessible health services.

The following are the most common ailments found to prevail among the Ata-Manobo lumads who underwent medical checkup during the medical mission:

1. Malnutrition
2. Acute respiratory tract infection
3. Parasitism
4. Gastric Ulcer
5. Pulmonary tiberculosis
6. Otitis media
7. Skin infection
8. UTI
9. Carbuncle
10. Sore eyes
11. Bronchitis

(Based on 75 patients checked)

The forcible displacement of lumads, staying in the forest without any shelter and food for days and night caused some of these ailments to aggravate in most patients, specifically respiratory ailments, and ulcer.

II. On the condition of the Ata-Manobo children who underwent psycho-social therapy:

There is a general expression of fear from the military and the on-and-off military operations among the Ata-Manobo children. The children have been subject to and been witness to frightening situations which in their age could cause consequential effects; mentally, psychologically and socially.

Among the causes of the childrens fear are roving helicopters that would abruptly stop their classes. They are scared because the soldiers are carrying guns. Some of them also experienced being recruited by the soldiers to become members of the CAFGU. Another is they are very afraid to be interrogated by the soldiers asking about the presence of NPAs.

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