DAVAO CITY – A farmers group here is calling for the “disarming and disbandment” of a tribal paramilitary group after an official from the National Commission for the Indigenous People confirmed the existence of the Alamara in the areas of Kapalong and Talaingod in Davao del Norte.
Pedro Arnado, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson, said that James Quintayo, head of the NCIP 11 “has proven during a Wednesday dialogue between the officials of government agencies and lumad evacuees in Davao City that there are paramilitary forces in lumad communities.”
Quintayo said that Laris Masaloon of Kapalong was a Bagani (tribal warrior) for a few years now, along with Alambi Salagani, an Alamara from Sitio Barobo, Talaingod.
“Kana si Laris, dugay na sila bagani. Si Alambi, karon lang na siya. Pareho na sila naay HPR (Laris has been a bagani for a long time. While Alambi, he’s only new. Both of them have high-powered rifles),” Quintayo was quoted as saying.
Arnado pointed out that these paramilitary forces were the ones being accused by the lumads of forcible recruitments, harassments and threats.
Quintayo, however, denied having any knowledge of how they acquired these arms.
“Kung kinsa nag-armas ana nila, wala na ko kabalo (Whoever armed them, I do not know),” he said.
Quintayo, however, affirmed that Masaloon had “rightist” leanings, which made him close with the military and the government.
Arnado said, “Quintayo’s words come as damning for the 10th ID, especially for the 1003rd Brigade under Col. Harold Cabreros, who denied the existence of paramilitary groups in Kapalong and Talaingod.”
“Clearly there armed lumad elements wandering in rural communities while carrying arms. And from Quintayo’s words affirming the leanings of Masaloon, it can be deduced that the military is supplying arms to the lumads, with the state’s backing,” he added.
Arnado reiterated the call of the lumad evacuees, and said that it was imperative that the paramilitary group, Alamara should be disbanded.
“The lumads say that they will only return to their communities if the military pulls out of their communities and paramilitary groups are disarmed and disbanded,” said Arnado.(davaotoday.com)