Military returns to Lumad communikty,
continues recruitment to TFG-BF
Posted: November 4, 2009
HIGALA SA MGA BAKWIT
September 24, 2009
MILITARY RETURNS TO LUMAD COMMUNITY,
CONTINUES RECRUITMENT TO TFG-BF
Just twenty four (24) days after their return from evacuation, residents of Sitio Purok 5, Brgy. San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur are again being recruited by the military for membership to the Task Force Gantangan- Bagani Force (TFG-BF).
On September 23, 2009, around 50 elements of the 58th IB PA led by a certain Lt. Valdes arrived in the lumad community of Lagdik, Lianga, SDS. After setting up camp in the farms they immediately began to recruit the residents for TFG-BF. Also recruited were women who would, according to the military, become “secretaries and intelligence agents” of the TFG-BF.
A member of the TFG-BF told some residents that the military will set up a CAFGU detachment in the community.
Last June 22, 2009 around 49 families with more than 200 individuals from Lagdik evacuated to the Lianga Gym because of massive military presence and enforced recruitment to the TFG-BF. The lumad community school with 62 pupils was closed down. They were later joined by more than 1,500 individuals from 14 lumad communities of Lianga, San Agustin and Tago, Surigao del Sur. On July 28, more than 1,700 lumad evacuated to the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Tandag, Surigao del Sur. On August 30, 2009, accompanied by more than 200 supporters led by Task Force Surigao, they returned to their communities after military pull-out.
Several days after the return of the evacuees, Col. Benjamin Pedralves, the commanding officer of the 58th IB PA announced to the media that the military will return to the communities.
According to Caraga Lumad Organization KASALO Secretary General Genasque Enriquez, military presence in these communities is aimed at “clearing” the area of opposition against coal mining of the Andap Valley Complex. Last June the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded ABACUS and/or LODESTAR Consolidated Holdings the rights to mine 6,000 hectares in Andap Valley, within the ancestral land of the Manobo people. The lumad organization MAPASU, the organization of 22 lumad communities in Surigao del Sur, is opposing mining within their ancestral lands.
“The return of the soldiers to our communities marks the total disregard of the Arroyo Regime and her minions in the AFP to the will of the people. With her true colors revealed, the lumad in Caraga shall continue to defend our right to self-determination and resist all forms of coercion that is detrimental to our communal interests,” Enriquez concludes.