DAVAO CITY — Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate today called on the Aquino administration to dismantle paramilitary groups “that in recent months gravely affected the indigenous peoples.”
According to the partylist lawmaker, the immediate pull-out of army soldiers from affected lumad communities and the disarming of paramilitary groups “would ease the spate of killings among the Lumads.”
Zarate said there have been 58 killings of Lumads under the Aquino presidency.
“Almost 60% of government troops are in Mindanao. Beefing this up are another 20 or so paramilitary organizations terrorizing Lumad villages,” he said.
Zarate said “among these paramilitary groups are the New Indigenous Peoples Army for Reform (NIPAR) blamed for the killing of Datu Jimmy Liguyon in 2012; the Alamara that terrorized lumad communities in many places in Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, and Davao Oriental, and the Bagani Force blamed for the murder of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio in 2011.”
In September, a Bagani group in Surigao del Sur was also blamed for the murder of three people, including the school executive of a Lumad school.
“The government has yet to make substantial steps in ending the marginalization of the Lumad people. Instead of beating on the drums of war in Mindanao, it should concentrate on providing better access to social services, especially health and education, to the Lumad people,” Zarate said. (davaotoday.com)