Struggle of the Talaingod Manobos in the Pantaron Range:
 Defending  their land against mining and logging companies
amidst aerial bombings and other human rights violations
by the Philippine military

 

May 18, 2014

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The Talaingod Manobos in the Pantaron Range had struggled in their defense of the mineral and resource-rich biodiversity area against the entry of mining and logging companies and military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since 1993.

Recently more than 1,300 Manobos forcibly evacuated from the area after a series of aerial bombings, indiscriminate firing and other human rights violations of the the 68th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) , 60th IB PA of the 1003rd Brigade, and the 4th Special Forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which started in March 3, 2014. After the successful negotiations with the local governments of Davao City and Davao del Norte for the pull-out of the military in the area, the Manobos returned to their homes during the first week of May.

A solidarity mission validated reports on the threats, harassment, divestment of properties, encampment of schools and health centers, destruction of farms, and even sexual molestation in the various sitios in Talaingod.
 

 
At the break of sunrise. Manobos resume their normal lives in the hinterland
of Talaingod, Davao del Norte after PH military forces pulled out of their communities
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Photos by Enteng Bautista, Anthony Montecillio, KILAB Multimedia,
KMU, Aya Ragragio and Tudla Productions as indicated by the filenames
           
     
     
Moving up ceremony in a Talaingod school disrupted weeks earlier by military operations
     


Media Release
30 April 2014

For Reference: Benjamin Valbuena, 09162294515

ACT for Peace: Military pull out from Talaingod, initial victory for the Lumads

The broad alliance of advocates in the academe and education sector for a just and lasting peace based on freedom, democracy and social justice, ACT for Peace is hopeful that the decision of the Local Government Unit of Talaingod, Davao del Norte to pull out military troops and halt military operations in the lumad community of Talaingod will be sincerely implemented.

“It is the task of the local government unit to ensure that their civilian populace is safe and free from any threat especially when these are brought about by the state’s own military force. The Memorandum of Agreement signed yesterday (April 29, 2014) which orders the state military’s pull out and halts their military operations from the 10 sitios of Talaingod should be copied also throughout the country and let the people, especially the children and the women live out of fear and further destructions brought about by their indiscriminate firing, aerial and land bombings, coercion and other forms of human rights violations,” said Benjamin Valbuena, ACT for Peace convener and Alliance of Concerned Teachers National President.
 


“We are also glad to hear that aside from their pull out (military), communities including the schools in the area will be rehabilitated. Schools are place for which our children are educated and as stated in our Constitution as well as in the international humanitarian laws should be spared from any military activities. The military’s utter disregard to this shows their total disrespect for civilian supremacy, to our Constitution and international humanitarian laws.

As our lumad brothers and sisters in Talaingod are hopeful of this initial victory, we call on them to continue their vigilance and unity as this victory may be taken away from them again knowing the traitor and barbaric nature of the AFP and their cohorts.
ACT for Peace calls on the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to resume talks the soonest time possible because this case and other similar cases must have a just and lasting solution. We desire and aspire peace based on justice and are prepared to support efforts to achieve genuine peace. “This call goes beyond our immediate call to stop military operations within and without the premises of schools where we teach. GPH and NDFP must resume peace talks and persist until a substantial agreement on socio-economic reforms are reached to improve the quality of lives of the Filipino people,” Mr. Benjie Valbuena said.

*ACT for Peace is a broad alliance of advocates in the academe and education sector for a just and lasting peace based on freedom, democracy and social justice.

     

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NEWS RELEASE
May 16, 2014

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general (0917-3162839)

NAT’L MISSION IN TALAINGOD PRESS FOR JUST AND LASTING PEACE, RESUMPTION OF GPH-NDFP PEACE TALKS

“We need peace, respect for our right to the land we till, and protection for the environment, for our children and the future generation.”

This was the statement of Datu Guibang Apoga, leader of the Salugpungan ’Ta Igkanugon (Pagkakaisa sa Pagtatanggol ng Lupang Ninuno), in a rare audience with representatives of human rights and people’s organizations in Talaingod, Davao del Norte sometime during the four-day National Solidarity Mission organized by Defend Talaingod, Save Pantaron Range Alliance from May 11-15, 2014.

Datu Guibang has led the Talaingod Manobos in the Pantaron Range in their defense of the mineral and resource-rich biodiversity area against the entry of mining and logging companies and military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since 1993.

Recently, more than 1,300 Manobos forcibly evacuated from the area after a series of aerial bombings, indiscriminate firing and other human rights violations of the the 68th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) , 60th IB PA of the 1003rd Brigade, and the 4th Special Forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which started in March 3, 2014. After the successful negotiations with the local governments of Davao City and Davao del Norte for the pull-out of the military in the area, the Manobos returned to their homes during the first week of May.

The solidarity mission validated reports on the threats, harassment, divestment of properties, encampment of schools and health centers, destruction of farms, and even sexual molestation in the various sitios in Talaingod.

“The AFP’s operations through Oplan Bayanihan in Talaingod and in the rest of the country have only resulted to grave human rights violations, and social and economic impact on the lives of the people. The need to resume the peace talks between the Aquino government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is more pronounced than ever. The GPH and the AFP should stop its dirty war against the people and instead should address the roots of the armed conflict in the country,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general who led the delegation of national organizations which joined the mission.

In a press conference after the mission, Palabay scored the AFP on the failure of Oplan Bayanihan’s militarist objectives, in addressing the plight of the Manobos and communities. “In the case of Talaingod, the AFP has miserably failed in breaking the organized strength of the Manobos in upholding their right to land, despite continuous military operations,” she added.

Palabay said that necessary social and economic reforms are vital components of an environment for just and lasting peace, reforms which are the next major agenda of the stalled GPH-NDFP peace talks.

“It goes to show that the Aquino administration and the AFP are not at all serious in addressing these urgent and comprehensive concerns, if all they do is unleash their war against the people through Oplan Bayanihan,” Palabay concluded.

 

Forcible evacuation to safer grounds
           
     
     
     


Ika-19 ng Abril

Pahayag ng mga bilanggong pulitikal na sina Benito Tiamzon at Wilma Austria sa Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo ng Davao del Norte

Dapat papanagutin ang gubyernong B.S. Aquino sa 1,300 na kaso ng palabag sa Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) laban sa Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo sa Davao del Norte. Maaari pang lumobo ang kaso ng paglabag sa 2,300 kapag naberipika ang dokumentasyon ng munisipyo ng Talaingod sa bilang ng mga bakwit na Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo.

Dagdag pa sa kaso ng gubyernong BS Aquino ang paglabag sa mga karapatan ng Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo sa ilalim ng Indigenous People’s Rights Act at ang paglabag sa karapatan at pangangalaga sa mga bata.

Sa halip na protektahan ang mga sibilyan, ipinatupad ng 1003rd brigade sa pamamagitan ng 60th Infantry Batallion at 4th Special Forces ang malulubhang paglabag sa CARHRIHL na naging dahilan upang maramihang magbakwit ang mga Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo noong Abril 3.

Kabilang dito ang sumusunod:
· Ilegal na detensyon at interogasyon sa mga guro ng Salugpongan Learning Center.

· Ilegal na detensyon at interogasyon sa tatlong guro, tatlong magulang at 13 kabataang estudyante.

· Pagdukot sa isang may-edad nang Manobong babae upang pwersahang gawing giya sa operasyon ng 60th IB. Isinailalim siya sa sekswal na pang-aabuso at di makataong pagtrato.

· Strafing ng mga batang sibilyan na nagkakaedad 15 taon at 16 na taon.

· Pambobomba sa mga lugar-tirahan ng mga Manobo noong Marso 20, alas-3 ng hapon.

· Pag-okupa at pananakot sa mga guro at estudyante ng Salugpongan Learning Center habang idinaraos ang graduation rites nito.

Dapat kagyat na itigil ang operasyon ng 1003rd Brigade sa erya ng Talaingod-Pantaron Mountain Range, pabalikin sa baraks ang ang mga tropa ng 60th IB at 4th Special Forces.
 

Dapat isailalim sa imbestigasyon at paglilitis militar ang mga upisyal ng 1003rd, 60th IB at 4th Special Forces para managot sa malulubhang paglabag sa mga prinsipyo at pamantayan ng International Humanitarian Law.

Bigyan ng karampatang indemnipikasyon ang mgaTalaingod-Pantaron Manobo sapagkasira ng kanilang hanapbuhay, tirahan at mga pananim.

Hayaang ligtas at mapayapang bumalik ang mga Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo sa kanilang mga tirahan taniman.

Mahigpit na itinataguyod ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines, ng Communist Party of the Philippines at New People’s Army ang pangangalaga sa mga sibilyan na apektado ng armadong labanan sa pagitan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines at NPA.

Mahigpit na itinataguyod ng NDFP ang karapatan sa pagpapasya sa sarili at awtonomiya ng mga katutubong Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo na magkakaroon lamang ng katuparan kapag ganap ng malaya ang bayan sa kontrol ng dayuhang imperyalistang US at lokal na malaking burgesyang komprador at panginoong maylupa.

Ikinalulugod din namin ang paabot ng mga pamayanan ng Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo na paksain sa usapang pangkapayapaan ang kanilang kalagayan at mga demanda kabilang na ang pangangalaga sa Pantaron Mountain Range laban sa ilegal na pagtotroso, pagmimina at iba pang eksplorasyon ng mga imperyalistang interes at lokal na malalaking burgesyang komprador sa likas na yaman ng Pantaron Mountain Range.

Ipagtanggol at suportahan ang Talaingod-Pantaron Manobo!

Wilma Austria Tiamzon Benito E. Tiamzon
NDFP National Consultant NDFP National Consultant
ND978226 ND978227


 

     

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URGENT APPEAL FOR SUPPORT

Solidarity for the Manobo people’s struggle for the protection of land rights, self-determination, and the environment

May 11, 2014

Dear fellow advocates:

Greetings of peace!

The Pantaron Range is a mountainous area that contains one of the last remaining primary forests in Mindanao, a part of our few remaining biodiversity corridors, and is a critical watershed for major river systems such as the Pulangi, Lasang and Davao rivers. It is ancestral home to thousands of Talaingod Manobo indigenous people, Lumads who gallantly defended Pantaron from big logging firm Alcantara and Sons (also known as Alson’s) in the 1990’s by organizing themselves into the Manobo federation, Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land; or, literally, 'a gathering {salugpong}for a land {tanu} that cannot-be-alienated [from us] {kanugon}').

In 1993, Datu Guibang Apoga, the chieftain of the Talaingod Manobos, united 83 different Manobo villages to rise against Alson’s and led a pangayaw, or a tribal declaration of war in defense of their lands, using traditional weapons against the company and its private security. The Pantaron struggle forced Alson’s to leave the area, thus preserving to date the flora and fauna of the Pantaron Range.

The current plight of the Talaingod Manabos

The Talaingod Manobos were forced on an exodus to Davao City away from their ancestral homes by a series of aerial bombings and intensified militarization by the combined forces of the 68th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA), 60th IBPA of the 1003rd Brigade, and the 4th Special Forces under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which started on March 3, 2014.

Evacuees reached 1,353 individuals (as of April 4), 927 are in Davao City while 426 are staying in Nasilaban. Of the 927 evacuees in Davao, 515 are children, from newborn to 12 years old. The number of evacuees who are currently trapped in the interior areas are still unknown. Traditionally, to evade military atrocities, Manobos go to the forests where some of them die due to starvation.

On March 10, an elderly Manobo woman, Ubunay Botod Manlaon, was subject to humiliating treatment and sexual abuse, and was used as a guide for military operations by the military. The military stripped her of her clothes, her hands and feet were bound, and treated her like an animal as they fed her scraps. At night when they made camp, they left her out in the cold and rain. She was eventually able to escape but not before being psychologically and physically traumatized.

On 15 March, the military arrived in the village of Nalubas, where they halted a group of children and their parents on their way to the neighboring village of Palungan. The group, with 13 pupils and three parents, were led by village leader Tungig Mansimuy-at and teacher Roilan Licayan. They were on their way to Palungan to gather food for the school’s upcoming recognition rites. The group was divided into groups and interrogated separately, their pictures taken against their will. Their ordeal did not end right away for the military insisted upon accompanying them all the way to Palungan, and, as they were headed back, were interrogated again by another group of soldiers they encountered on the trail, and were only released after one hour.

On 20 March, the villages of Bagang and Laslasakan in Barangay Palma Gil were aerially bombed; this was seen by several witnesses. Over the next two days there were incidents of strafing, of indiscriminate firing that resulted in the miscarriage of a young woman, and of threats against lumad villagers.

By 27 March, those from the interior villages of Pangaan, Nalubas, Pongpong,Bayabas and Bugni begin their trek down to the lower village of Laslasakan. Their situation in their respective communities had become unbearable as soldiers, camped right in the middle of civilian settlements, subjected them to intimidation, threatening accusations, and prevented them from going to their farms for their everyday subsistence.

On April 2, as the Talaingod Manobos were fleeing the wrath and violence of the military's guns and bombs, 12 - day - old Biboy Manabay passed away. Biboy died of pulmonary aspiration, secondary to dehydration as the villagers of Sitio Laslasakan, together with evacuees from other interior villages, started their exodus for sanctuary. After a seven (7) hour trek from his home in Laslasakan, without any food and water, under the glaring heat of the sun, Biboy’s fragile health did not make it. He passed away and was buried in Sitio Igang, halfway through the evacuation site.

Basilio Libayao, current mayor of Talaingod, is likewise a party to the wholesale cover-up of the atrocities against the Manobos, when he threatened to file charges against community organizers who 'influenced' the Manobo communities of Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod town, Davao del Norte to leave their homes.

Mayor Basilio Libayao’s father, Jose Libayao, was a former security guard of logging company Alcantara and Sons Inc. (Alsons), and became the first mayor of Talaingod town in 1991, with Alson’s backing.

In the early ‘90s, Alsons applied for an expansion of its operations from 19,000 to 45,000 has. of land that is basically the whole of Talaingod. Jose Libayao facilitated Alson’s entry to and control of the Ata-Manobo’s resource rich ancestral lands by signing an agreement that placed Talaingod under Alson’s Integrated Forest Management Agreement.

When the indigenous peoples resisted the incursion, the military-backed Jose Libayao went on a killing spree against the opposing Ata-Manobo. In February 1994, three truckloads of soldiers from the 64th IB-PA attacked the “anti-IFMA” villages. Many Lumads fled their communities as troops burned down houses, looted harvests and slaughtered livestock.

Jose Libayao’s political career started during the martial law period as part of Marcos’s infamous PANAMIN or Presidential Assistance for National Minorities, a counterinsurgency program specifically focused on indigenous peoples.

The climate of impunity in the Philippines

Four years into the presidency of Benigno S. Aquino III, the situation has become more dangerous for indigenous and rural communities, with the implementation of the administration’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. Instead of promoting peace, Aquino’s militarist machinations have resulted in more violence. Instead of upholding people’s welfare, Aquino and his state security forces have trampled upon people’s rights.

From July 2010 to March 2014, Karapatan has documented 192 individual victims of extrajudicial killing, majority of them are farmers, indigenous and environmental rights defenders. Nearly 40,000 people have been internally displaced, more than 9,500 people have been indiscriminately fired at, and 134,110 individuals have been affected by the use of schools, homes, hospitals, and places of worship for military purposes.

For Mindanao, Oplan Bayanihan’s direct effect has been the deployment of five divisions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the island, an estimated 60% of the entire AFP. The AFP top brass has admitted that the concentration of their troops will be in the Davao region, where they have been carrying out operations. These are the same towns and villages that have reported numerous human rights violations.

Our appeal

More than two decades after the attempt to encroach on their ancestral lands, the Manobo people are facing worse attacks against their right to life, self determination, and human dignity.

The Defend Talaingod, Save Pantaron Range Alliance was recently formed to support the Manobos’ exodus with solidarity, relief, and lobbying for justice. The people’s movement successfully negotiated with local governments last April 29 for the withdrawal of the AFP from Talaingod. However, military officials in their public statements said that it will only a temporary pull-out, as they need to continue their supposed military operations against the NPA.

Thus, the Manobos of Pantaron Range need our solidarity and support, now more than ever. We appeal for your support for the people of Talaingod by:

1) Writing letters of appeal addressed to the Philippine authorities (list attached) and statements of support to the Talaingod Manobos to:
- ensure the pull-out of all military troops in their communities
- investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who have perpetrated the various rights violations against the indigenous communities
- provide just reparations made by the perpetrators for any damaged home, source and means of livelihood of the people
- stop the attacks against schools and children
- junk Oplan Bayanihan

2. Supporting the filing of complaints by the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon and Defend Talaingod, Save Pantaron Range Alliance by donating financial support for the legal fees, lobbying and advocacy activities at the Commission on Human Rights, Philippines Congress, and at the United Nations.

3. Hosting lobbying engagements and audiences in the UN and other international platforms in order to bring to international attention the plight and struggle of the Manobo people.

4. Supporting the plight of the returning evacuees who are still in need of food, medicines, blankets and other materials;

Please contact the following organisations for queries and other information you may need:
1) Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment: through kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
2) Karapatan Alliance for Advancement for People’s Rights: through karapatan@karapatan.org
3) Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas: through kamp_phils@yahoo.com

In solidarity,

(sgd)Clemente Bautista
National Coordinator
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment

(sgd) Cristina Palabay
Secretary General
Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights – Philippines

(sgd) Piya Argee Malayao
National Spokesperson
KAMP
 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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CPP congratulates Talaingod residents for driving away the fascists from their communities

Communist Party of the Philippines

May 03, 2014

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the residents of Talaingod, mostly Manobo minority people, for successfully driving away the fascist troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from their communities.

More than 1,000 residents of Talaingod were forced to leave their homes and communities in April 4 to protest the presence of soldiers belonging to the 1003rd Infantry Brigade in their communities. Travelling to Davao City, they sought help from church groups and civic organizations and were accommodated at the grounds of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

Negotiations last April 29 with officials of the AFP facilitated by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte resulted in a pledge by the military to pull out of the communities. The city government promised to provide transportation for the residents to return home yesterday.

The residents of Talaingod denounced the AFP for harassing the residents and controlling their movements. According to the residents, they are being accused by soldiers of supporting the New People’s Army (NPA). They condemned the AFP for conducting aerial bombing runs which damaged the environment and caused widespread fear among the residents.

In the guise of a so-called “Peace and Development Outreach Program,” armed combat troops of the 1003rd Bde occupied schools, barangay halls and other public structures in the sitios of Bayabas, Sazo, Pong-pong, Nasilaban, Dulyan, Nalubas, Bagang, Lasakan, Sambolongan and Bogni.

“The CPP commends the residents of Talaingod for their gallant fight to defend their homes, communities and ancestral land against armed incursions by the fascist troops of the AFP.”

“Indeed, the struggle of the people of Talaingod and other parts of Mindanao is far from over, as mining companies, logging operators and plantation owners continue to expand their profit-seeking operations,” said the CPP.

“We can anticipate worsening brutalities by the AFP as it subjects more and more communities to militarization in the vain hope of suppressing the people’s resistance to big foreign and local plunderers,” added the CPP.

“The CPP enjoins the people of Talaingod and other areas being militarized to pave the way for the entry of big plundering mining companies and plantations to stand firmly in the defense of their rights and their lands.”

 

     
           
     
     
     

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National Solidarity Mission to investigate rights abuses in Mindanao

05/11/2014 - 09:37 Karapatan National Press release

A National Solidarity Mission (NSM) kicks off today as representatives of various national people’s organizations, progressive partylist organizations and human rights groups fly to Davao City to join other human rights workers, peace advocates in Mindanao. The National Solidarity Mission is set to investigate rights abuses committed against peasants and indigenous peoples specifically in Davao and Cotabato provinces.

The Manila contingent is composed of representatives from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), partylists Gabriela, Act Teacher's, and Bayan Muna, Karapatan, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, Children's Rehabilitation Center, Kalikasan, Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan (KPMM), Kilusang Mayo Uno, Task Force for Indigenous People’s Rights, National Council of Churches in the Philippines and Health Alliance for Democracy.

Because an “entire region has been adversely affected by massive military operation, and because of the consistent unresponsiveness and even hostility the local and regional government has shown, we are calling for a national solidarity mission (NSM)," said the joint statement of the Mindanao-based organizations Exodus for Justice and Peace, Defend Talaingod Save Pantaron Range Alliance, Defend Compostela Valley Alliance, Save our Schools, Sowing Seeds of Peace in Mindanao, PASAKA, BAYAN-SMR, and Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region.

According to these organizations, "Oplan Bayanihan's direct effect in Mindanao is the deployment of five divisions, about 60%, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. ... The towns and villages where the AFP conducts its operations are the same towns and villages with the most reported cases of human rights violations."

Of the 192 cases of extrajudicial killings under the BS Aquino administration, 25 happened in Southern Mindanao region, where the Davao provinces belong to.
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On April 3, some 1,353 Talaingod-Manobo, mostly children under 12 years old, arrived in Davao City after a 6-day trek from their ancestral lands in the Pantaron mountains in Davao del Norte due to abuses, threats and harassments, bombings and indiscriminate firing by the soldiers from the 60th Infantry Battalion (IB), 68th IB of 1003rd Brigade, and 4th Special Forces.

After the dialogue with the Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao, AFP Gen. Ariel Bernardo, Talaingod-Manobo agreed to go back to their lands once the military pulls out from their communities. The AFP agreed to suspend its operation in Talaingod for the return of the evacuees, but only for two days.

"Oplan Bayanihan’s military operation in the Davao region has resulted in the displacement of peasants and indigenous peoples, and other gross human rights violations committed against them," Mindanao human rights and peace advocates’ organizations said.

Aside from going to Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the NSM also covers the communities in Magpet, Arakan, North Cotabato; Maco, Compostella Valley; and Paquibato, Davao City. ###

           
     
     
     
           

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PRESS RELEASE
18 May 2014

Local knowledge on biodiversity in Pantaron Range might vanish along with flora and fauna if displacement, land grabbing continues

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) warned that the largely undocumented biodiversity in Pantaron Range might disappear, along with the indigenous knowledge of the Talaingod Manobos that have protected the forests of the mountain range over the past decades, if the displacement of the indigenous Lumad communities caused by the militarization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) persists.

This was among the major conclusions of the environmental group during their participation in a National Solidarity Mission (NSM) organized by national and local people’s organizations, progressive party-list groups, peace advocates, and human rights formations across various indigenous communities in the provinces of Davao and Cotabato. Kalikasan PNE was part of the team that assessed the area of Talaingod municipality in Davao del Norte, which is within the Pantaron Range.

“The Talaingod Manobos in Pantaron Range continue their decades-long active defense of their ancestral lands from military-backed development aggression, conserving their environment and knowledge of the land in the process. The intensified militarization by the AFP have caused massive displacement and rights abuses, which threaten the Manobo’s way of life and the land they have fought so hard to preserve,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE and a delegate to the NSM.

Biodiversity potential
The 12,600 square-kilometer Pantaron Mountain Range or Pantadon Biogeographic Subregion cuts across the provinces of Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur, covering 12.4 percent of the entire Mindanao.

One of the largest remaining old growth forests in the Philippines is located in the Pantaron Mountain Range. It covers 1.8 million hectares and supplies the water of major rivers in Mindanao mainly the Mindanao River, Pulangi River, Davao River, Tagoloan River and major tributaries of Agusan River. The natural forests of the region support immense biodiversity and links important breeding sites of the Philippine eagle at Mount Kitanglad and Mount Apo.

“Pantaron Range is a very critical watershed and one of the few remaining primary forests in Mindanao, with some of its hardwood species including Lamotan, Red Lawaan, Iron Wood, and Kamagong, among others. It is a known important link of breeding sites for the Philippine Eagle at Mount Kitanglad and Mount Apo. The Talaingod Manobos also benefit from Pantaron’s forests as it serves as their natural pharmacy where they source their traditional medicinal and herbal plants,” explained Bautista.

“Publicly available documentation of its natural heritage is scant, but the Talaingod Manobos speak of a variety of birds including three kinds of hornbills, and lizards and amphibians such as forest frogs and monitor lizards. They also shared that there are wild pigs including dwarf ones, civets, and monkeys including tarsiers,” Bautista furthered.

Threats of displacement


The NSM confirmed the reported series of intensified human rights abuses that began March 3 this year as the AFP went on a militarization campaign in the area as part of their Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency program. Reports gathered in the villages visited by the NSM said the Philippine Army engaged in several human rights violations (HRVs) such as looting, torture, sexual harassment, intimidation, destruction of farms and the desecration of the Manobos’ abodes.
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Secondary Forest Foreground Pantaron Range Background - "A view of the rainforest expanses in the Pantaron Mountain Range. Talaingod Manobos who have long served as the natural nurturers of the forests are currently threatened by militarization and development aggression."

 

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The Talaingod Manobos collectively decided to evacuate their communities to avoid more HRVs by the military. They sought refuge in Davao City where various organizations and individuals, including Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, supported their cause.

“In the 1990s, the Talaingod Manobos already suffered from displacement by militarization from the security forces and military backing of the logging firm Alcantara and Sons (Alsons). Today, they are still threatened by the encroaching of Alsons through their Integrated Forest Management Agreement or IFMA that covers the entire 45,000 hectares of Talaingod. A host of large-scale mining corporations also have approved applications over the range,” Bautista pointed out.

“The Talaingod Manobos under their organization Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon believe that it is these economic interests that are the real motive in the systemic displacement of their communities,” said Bautista.

Appeal for support
The national environmental network joined human rights group Karapatan and the indigenous people’s federation KAMP in supporting the calls of Salugpungan and other advocacy groups in Mindanao:

· Ensure the pull-out of all military troops in the communities in Pantaron Range;
· Investigate, prosecute and hold accountable the perpetrators of rights abuses against the indigenous communities;
· Provide just reparations by the perpatrators for any damaged home, source and means of livelihood of the people;
· Stop the attacks against schools and childrens in the area;
· Junk the repressive Oplan Bayanihan.

“The Talaingod Manobos who are now just returning to their lands are still in need of food, medicines, blankets and other materials in order to rebuild their lives. They need our support in filing complaints and lobbying against the military at the Commission on Human Rights, Philippine Congress, Philippine courts, and up to the level of the United Nations,” ended Bautista.
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NOTE: Also attached is the letter of appeal sent out by Kalikasan PNE, Karapatan, and KAMP. Please contact the following organizations for queries and other information you may need regarding the support campaign for the Talaingod Manobos in Pantaron Range:

Download Letter of Appeal

Kalikasan PNE – secretariat@kalikasan.net | Karapatan – karapatan@karapatan.org | KAMP – kamp_phils@yahoo.com

Reference: Clemente Bautista – 0922 844 9787

 



Delegate Surveying Talaingod Forest - "A delegate of the national solidarity mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte is surveying the flora and fauna of the forests. Part of the largely preserved Pantaron Mountain Range, the area and its denizens are currently threatened by military operations and encroaching logging and mining groups."

 

           
     
 
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Kalikasan PNE joins national solidarity mission investigating rights abuses on Pantaron Range’s defenders

PRESS RELEASE
12 May 2014

The militant environmentalist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) joined a National Solidarity Mission in the Cotabato and Davao provinces of Mindanao that kicks off today composed of national people’s organizations, progressive party-list groups, peace advocates, and human rights formations. The NSM aims to investigate rights abuses towards peasants and indigenous peoples in the focus areas.

The green group will specifically look into the rights situation in Pantaron Range, a 12,600 square kilometer mountain range where one of the last remaining primary forests in Mindanao still flourishes, and which serves as the ancestral home of various indigenous Lumad communities.

“The Talaingod Manobos have historically been the natural nurturers and defenders of the Pantaron Range’s floral, faunal and resource diversity as it is their source of life and culture. It is the Talaingod Manobo’s opposition to big mining, logging, agricultural plantations and other forms of development aggression that the BS Aquino government and the administrations before it have met with massive militarization and rights abuses,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The Pantaron Range is a valuable biodiversity corridor in Mindanao whose old-growth forests are a veritable trove of rare flora and fauna. It is also a critical watershed where the headwaters of important river systems such as Mindanao, Pulangi, Davao, Tagoloan and major tributaries of the Agusan.

Plunder of Pantaron as motive


The Pantaron area currently has the biggest number of approved mining applications in the Davao region because of its rich mineral potential, namely the applications of Kinimi Copper exploration & Mining Corp., Pacific Heights Resources, Inc., McWealth Mining Corp., Geoffrey T. Yenco and One Compostela Valley Minerals, Inc.

Big logging and both timber and agricultural plantations are also eyeing the vast tracts of forests preserved within the ancestral domains of the Talaingod Manobo. The Manobos united under the political organization Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon and declared a Pangayaw (tribal war) in defense against the encroaching logging company Alcantara and Sons (Alsons) during the 90s, which drove Alsons out but drew both military and legal harassment to their leaders.

“The forests in the Pantaron Range’s Talaingod area has been preserved and conserved not through government efforts, but through the people’s active defense of their ancestral lands and protection of their environment,” asserted Bautista.

“The ongoing militarization and rights abuses in Talaingod through the rabid Oplan Bayanihan of the BS Aquino government aims to demolish the strong political unity and struggle of the Talaingod Manobos, and force them to submit to the entry of large-scale mining and big logging operations.”

Militarizing Manobo communities


The history of militarization and rights abuses by Alsons’ security forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that was already apparent in the 90s with the military operations and the filing of criminal charges against the Salugpungan datus for their active defense of their ancestral lands. The AFP once again embarked on a military campaign in the area against the New People’s Army (NPA), but has targeted the Lumad communities instead.

“Based on initial reports, the fascist AFP troops perpetrated vicious human rights violations and other unspeakable crimes towards the Manobos, including aerial bombardments and the razing of homes in civilian populated communities, sexual abuse of an elder Lumad, and the harassment, threat, and intimidation of residents and the personnel of their community school. The AFP are known not only for violating civil rights, but also perpetrators of environmental crimes in Talaingod by paving the way for destructive and pollutive development aggression projects,” said Bautista.

Last April, more than 1,300 Manobos who were displaced by the military ops evacuated towards Davao City due to the ongoing rights abuses. They have recently negotiated the suspension of operations in Talaingod that allowed them to return to their homes, but this pullout was only for two days.

Aside from going to Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the NSM also covers the communities in Magpet, Arakan, North Cotabato; Maco, Compostella Valley; and Paquibato, Davao City.

 

     
     
           
     
     
     
 


First meal in more than 12 hours

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Vilification and illegal detention of Tampakan anti-mining activist ‘SOP’ of AFP to quash opposition to destructive mining projects

PRESS RELEASE
07 May 2014

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) denounced the vilification of anti-mining activist Romeo Rivera Jr. as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and his subsequent illegal detention as an atrocious ‘standard operating procedure’ by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in harassing and quashing opponents of the Tampakan gold and copper mining project owned by the Glencore-Xstrata-SMI group of companies in South Cotabato.

“It has been the AFP’s SOP to vilify, harass, and even ultimately ‘neutralize’ the leaders and members of the opposition to large-scale mining operations, under their mandate as ‘investment defense forces’ and through the direct payroll of mining companies to their paramilitary forces. We condemn the latest example of this despicable tactic in the illegal detention of anti-mining activist Romeo Rivera Jr., under baseless charges that he is a member of the NPA,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

“The AFP forced Rivera to admit that he is a certain Felix Armodia of the NPA – another SOP they resort to when they make mistakes in their captures. In fact, Rivera was one of the organizers of the Earth Day forum we attended where Tampakan Panalipdan, a local alliance against Glencore-Xstrata-SMI’s gold-copper project in which Rivera is one of the conveners, was formally launched,” added Bautista.

Rights violations persisting under Aquino


The group feared that the illegal detention of Rivera may signal the upsurge once again of human rights violations in Tampakan and other mining-affected areas. According to the recording of the Task Force-Justice for Environmental Defenders (TF-JED), at least 10 extrajudicial killings have been perpetrated against critics and opponents of the Tampakan project under the current administration of Pres. Noynoy Aquino since 2010.

“It seems the Aquino administration is hell-bent in pushing through with big-ticket mining items such as the Tampakan project despite the clear impacts and threats it has posed to the human rights, soci-economic and environmental situations in the areas to be affected. Let us recall that Aquino himself defended the Tampakan project and even pushed for its environmental compliance certificate, despite clear documented evidence of its violation of humanitarian and environmental laws,” explained Bautista.

In a recent report by the London-based Global Witness where Kalikasan PNE and TF-JED served as resources, the Philippines has been singled out as the deadliest Asian country for environmental advocates and third deadliest after Brazil and Honduras, with 67 known killings since 2002 and of which 41 were opposing mining operations.

“There are now at least 74 killings of environmental advocates in the Philippines since 2001, and more than 70 percent of these cases consistently involve anti-mining activists. Thousands have been subjected to other forms of human rights violations, with the latest cases being Rivera’s illegal detention, and the displacement and harassment of more than 1,300 Pantaron Manobos in Talaingod, Davao del Norte who have historically fought off big logging, large dam and big mining interests,” said Leon Dulce, spokesperson of TF-JED.

The Kalikasan PNE and TF-JED called for the immediate release of Rivera, and the filing of subsequent charges against AFP personnel involved in the unwarranted arrest. They also reiterated their calls for the pull-out of the Tampakan mining project along with its military, paramilitary and security personnel from the communities.###
 

     
     

On April 3, more than 1,300 Ata-Manobo from Talaingod town of Davao del Norte arrived from their 6 day trek to Davao City, to seek refuge from the atrocities they encountered from military operations. They are now under the sanctuary on the grounds of the United Church of the Philippines (UCCP) Haran. Photo by Kilab Multimedia

           
     
     
     

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Condemn the AFP’s war of suppression and widespread abuses in Mindanao!
Wage widespread guerrilla warfare in Mindanao and across the country to defend the people!
May 16, 2014
From:
http://philippinerevolution.net/statements/20140516_condemn-the-afp-s-war-of-suppression-and-widespread-abuses-in-mindanao-wage-widespread-guerrilla-warfare-in-mindanao-and-across-the-country-to-defend-the-people


State Brutality, Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, state terrorism, Bombings, Oplan Bayanihan Resize text: A+ A- Reset
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms possible the heightened operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against peasant and minority or Lumad communities, as well as against the Moro people, across the different regions in Mindanao. The aim is to suppress the people’s resistance, both their democratic mass struggles and their revolutionary armed movement, in order to pave the way for the entry of big foreign mining, logging and plantation operations in various parts of Mindanao.

The so-called “peace and development” operations of the AFP under its Oplan Bayanihan war against the people have brought nothing but terror and hardship to the hundreds of thousands of peasants and minorities. Combat troops of the AFP have committed widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law as they militarize entire communities, drop bombs and fire mortar shells which destroy farms and the natural environment. Operating troops of the AFP unjustly suppress civilian communities in their desperate effort to wage counter-guerrilla warfare against the New People’s Army (NPA), the people’s militias as well as against the revolutionary armed Moro fighters.

Since the start of 2014, the AFP has mobilized at least 30 combat maneuver battalions against the NPA forces in the South, Far South, Northeast and North Central Mindanao. The AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command has been beefed up with additional troops from Luzon and the Visayas, including the deployment of at least three Scout Ranger battalions. These forces have been further augmented with forces of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force, the AFP Engineering Brigade, Tactical Operations Group, Regional Community Defense Group and military intelligence battalions. At least one battalion under the 6th ID in the Moro areas in Maguindanao has been transferred to the 10th ID and deployed in Compostela Valley.

Such a major military campaign is likely coordinated with the US military, particularly the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) based in Zamboanga City. During previous major campaigns in Southern Mindanao, US soldiers set up tactical coordinating centers with field commands to provide combat assistance in the form of real-time satellite or drone intelligence, join combat operations and provide logistical support (including aerial support for dropping smart bombs or for medical evacuation).

The number of operating troops deployed by the AFP is unprecedented. We can conservatively estimate that the Aquino regime is spending at least P500 million a month to cover the costs of the daily field and intelligence operations of its combat units, fuel for its helicopter gunships, transport trucks and armed personnel carriers as well as the acquisition of bombs, artillery and bullets. The Aquino regime will likely be spending several billion pesos in the course of several months of counter-guerrilla operations in Mindanao.

The CPP joins the Filipino people in condemning the Aquino regime for squandering billions of pesos for its heightened military campaign in Mindanao while the majority of the people continue to wallow in poverty. At the same time, the Aquino regime adamantly refuses to heed the people’s demand for rehabilitation in the areas devastated by supertyphoon Pablo in December 2012. Aquino’s government has succeeded only in building 110 substandard houses out of an original target of 1,300. It has reneged on its promise of rice subsidies for the calamity victims. Worse, the Aquino regime has allowed mining and logging operations to continue in Baganga, Cateel and Boston, which were among the towns that suffered destructive mudflows resulting from widespread denudation.

The CPP also joins the widespread condemnation of the AFP’s campaigns of suppression against the people of Talaingod, Davao Oriental. Last April, at least 1,300 residents of Talaingod abandoned their homes and evacuated to Davao City in order to protest the presence of military troops in their communities and the transformation of their schools, day care centers and other village facilities into barracks for the operating troops of the 1003rd Brigade. They narrated how helicopter gunships fired bombs on their farms and how they were accused of being supporters of the NPA and forced to serve as guides for the soldiers in their operations. Earlier this month, the residents of Talaingod returned to their homes after successfully getting the AFP commander to order the withdrawal of troops from the community center. In the same breath, however, the AFP commander threatened to continue deploying soldiers in the area and declared that they would continue with their search and destroy operations in the area.

Over the past several months, the AFP has also conducted similar operations in the towns of Maco, Maragusan and Mabini, all in Compostela Valley; in Loreto, Butuan City and Cabadbaran in Agusan del Sur; and other areas. Cases of human rights abuses are rapidly increasing. These include the killing of Ricardo “Polon” Tuazon in Butuan last April 28, the abduction, torture and killing of Wilmar Bargas in Maco, the abduction of peasant leader Romeo “Ging-ging” Rivera in South Cotabato and others. The AFP have been conducting aerial bombing runs which have endangered civilian communities and caused grave trauma especially among children. Communities have been subjected to hamletting. AFP operating troops have imposed food and economic blockades resulting in grave hardships against the people. Invariably, AFP soldiers have systematically promoted gambling, drug use and other anti-social activities in order to cause divisions among the people. Cases of rape and sexual violations against young women are on the rise.

The people’s revolutionary movement is in complete solidarity with the demand to end the destructive and plunderous logging, mining and plantation operations that these abusive AFP military campaigns protect. The NPA continues to carry out the CPP’s directive to punish and drive away the biggest plunderers in order to make available land for land reform and preserve the ancestral lands of the Lumad. Recently, the NPA has succeeded in disabling large-scale mining equipment of Asia Alston in Agusan del Norte and the Apex Mining Company in Compostela Valley. It has carried out a campaign to put a stop to widespread logging operations in Compostela Valley being run by military officials and bureaucrat capitalists in collaboration with officials of the Aquino regime.

In light of the widespread abuses, grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and the vile aim of the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan brutal campaign of suppression, the Communist Party of the Philippines calls on the Filipino people to unite and demand an immediate end to all offensive military operations and the withdrawal of all operating troops from civilian communities.

The CPP enjoins all peace-loving groups, human rights advocates, lawyers, church and religious workers, student organizations, media associations and progressive people’s groups across the Philippines to take up the cause of the people of Mindanao against the AFP’s intensified war of suppression. They should actively look into the situation in Mindanao and help expose the grave abuses and brutalities being committed by the AFP in the course of its war against the people.

The CPP calls on Filipinos abroad to organize and mobilize in order to come to the aid of the people of Mindanao. Solidarity groups of people who hail from Mindanao can be organized to spearhead an international campaign to expose the AFP’s war of suppression in their home towns and provinces. They can strive to draw international attention to the situation in Mindanao in order to expose the lies and illusions being peddled by the US-Aquino regime.

The CPP applauds the peasant organizations and Lumad groups, as well as the progressive organizations among the workers, students, urban poor, religious, teachers, environmental advocates, media, government employees and other democratic sectors in Mindanao, who have stood up and resisted the AFP’s all-out war of suppression. They have stood courageously in the face of harassment, threats, abductions and arrests carried out by the AFP against the people.

The CPP also urges the Moro forces to continue waging revolutionary armed resistance in order to frustrate the US-Aquino regime’s plan to allow foreign big mining companies to plunder the land and rob the Moro people of their rich natural resources.

The CPP applauds all Red commanders and fighters of the New People’s Army in Mindanao for continuing to seize the initiative in waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare. They have adeptly frustrated the AFP’s sustained and concentrated attacks by employing the tactics of shifting and concentration to avoid decisive engagements, luring the enemy deep and launching tactical offensives that they are sure of winning.

Despite the increased number of troops over the past month of operations, the AFP has yet to inflict a decisive blow against against any NPA unit. In fact, it is the AFP that continues to suffer casualties. Last May 5, a fascist trooper of the 67th IB was killed in an NPA sniping operation in Bgy. Pagsabangan, New Bataan. Earlier, the AFP also lost four soldiers in an NPA offensive last April 23 in Brgy Manurigao, New Bataan after conducting operations in Brgy. Pichon, Caraga town, Davao Oriental. On April 13 and 14, eight soldiers belonging to the Army Division Reconnaisance Company and three soldiers of the 9th IB were killed in successive NPA ambuscades in the Maragusan-Maco boundary area. On March 20, two soldiers were killed when an NPA unit ambushed a military truck transporting troops belonging to the 26th IB and the Scout Rangers in San Luis, Agusan del Sur. On March 12, five soldiers belonging to the 9th IB were killed in an NPA ambush in Panoraon, Maco, Compostela Valley. On March 10, the NPA successfully launched a raid against the PNP Headquarters in Matanao, Davao del Sur, killing three policemen and seizing 10 assorted firearms. On March 5, two soldiers belonging to the 58th IB were killed in an NPA harassment operation in Libertad, Gingoog City.

Hundreds of people’s militia units are rapidly being mobilized in order to pursue and harass all AFP operating troops. AFP units continue to punch the air and are fast growing tired and wary of the people’s army and the people’s militias. Their fear of the people and their army, in turn, makes them more desperate and brutal.

The CPP calls on the five regional commands of the New People’s Army across Mindanao to continue efforts to intensify the people’s war by launching ever more frequent and bigger tactical offensives against the enemy. The large-scale operations of the AFP open innumerable opportunities to carry out tactical offensives against the weak spots of the enemy. The NPA and units of the people’s militias can launch small unit operations without letup in order to take advantage of all opportunities to strike at the enemy and make it bleed from a thousand wounds. At the same time, NPA commanders at the regional and interregional level can plan out special operations to deal massive head blows with great political impact.

All units of the NPA in Luzon and Visayas continue to wage extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare in their respective regions and areas of operations. Tactical offensives have been carried out in various provinces over the past month, particularly in Northern Samar, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Masbate, Palawan, Batangas, Quezon, Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province and other places.

In the face of the large-scale and brutal war of suppression being waged by the AFP against the people in Mindanao, there is particular urgency to carry out a campaign to launch bigger and more frequent tactical offensives across the country. Such a campaign must be carried out to extend support to the NPA units in Mindanao who are now confronting one of the biggest and longest AFP campaigns of suppression. The New People’s Army must display its strength and unity against the brutalities and abuses being committed by the AFP in Mindanao.

All Party committees and NPA commands must help counter and derail the AFP’s all-out war of suppression in Mindanao. Every regional, subregional and front operations command of the NPA can contribute to this effort by launching ambushes, raids and other tactical offensives against the weak points of the enemy including police, army or CAFGU checkpoints, isolated detachments or police stations, detached supply teams and others. They can carry out the arrest of enemy officers accused of war crimes or notorious criminals in order to subject them to trial. They can target the destruction of enemy camps, military trucks, helicopters, fuel depots and other supply points through sapper operations and the proper deployment of command-detonated explosives or incendiary weapons. They can carry out punitive actions against the big plunderers of the environment such as mining, logging and plantation operations. All units of the people’s militias must also be mobilized in this effort.

By seizing the initiative in waging people’s war and launching bigger and more frequent tactical offensives, the NPA also directly contributes to the Filipino people’s campaign to put an end to the much-detested puppet, corrupt, brutal and mendacious Aquino regime.

In carrying out and intensifying extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare across the country, the New People’s Army is bound to frustrate the all-out war of suppression of the AFP and the Aquino regime in Mindanao and emerge stronger and more capable in waging and advancing the people’s war. With the people’s inexhaustible support, the NPA will prove itself unstoppable as it marches forward from the current stage of strategic defensive of the people’s war to the next stage of strategic stalemate.

 

The military troops from the 60th IB have been continuously encroaching on their houses, threatening them and accusing them of being NPA members or rebel supporters.

The military, in violation of Philippine laws, occupied their schools andThe military troops from the 60th IB have been continuously encroaching on their houses, threatening them and accusing them of being NPA members or rebel supporters.

The military, in violation of Philippine laws, occupied their schools and other public structures as their camps. They go from house-to- house to threaten the lumads, and abuse them both physically and psychologically.
 to threaten the lumads, and abuse them both physically and psychologically.

Photo by Kilab Multimedia

     
     
     

This young mother gave birth inside the trailer of the ten-wheeler truck en route to Davao
     
Press Conference at the UCCP grounds. April 4, 2014
     
Datu Doloman, spokesperson of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, speaks to the press

Bae Ubunay was the first victim of this tragic episode. She was held captive by soldiers for several days and forced to act as a guide. She was subjected to psychological and physicall abuse.

     
           
Returning to their homes and land
           
     
     
     

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Starting again for Manobos
By DAVAO TODAY
May 03 2014
By Roxan Vee Tampos

DAVAO CITY - Tribal Manobos from Talaingod, Davao Del Norte finally find their way home.

As the sun rose from the dark side of the earth on this first Friday of May, the streak of rays also send dawn-breaking and blazing new hope for the Lumads, already set to go home to their place.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has assisted them with transport: 10 buses and six dump trucks, each vehicle to transport residents from the different barangays that were abandoned since last month.

“Sa lahi-lahi nga barangay naay sakyanan nga gipahiram si Mayor.” a Manobo tribal resident of the village of Dulyan. In his mid-20's and busy loading up their meager belongings, he told Davao Today Manobo that Duterte did not only provide the vehicles, he also gave seeds and P1,000 per family.

“Kami mga Lumad na mibakwit dire sa Haran, karon adlawa maka uli na mi sa Talaingod, didto sa Salugpungan sa pagpahigayon ni Mayor Duterte,” Datu Duluman Dawsay said.

While they may feel ecstatic at going back home, their tribal leaders and elders expressed concern that the situation may turn out perfect and smooth.

“Kung naay NPA mangadto didto, dili man namo mapugngan sila kay para man sa tanan ang bukid. Wala man pud nanghasi ang mga NPA. Unta tabangan gihapun mi ni Mayor (We can not prevent the NPAs from going there because the mountains are for everyone. They have not harassed us. We hope Mayor Duterte would still help us),“ the Manobo villager said.

They departed in 7:30 in the morning and they will probably arrived 10 am.

The newly created Defend Talaingod Save Pantaron Range Talaingod Manobos told Davao Today that it would mount a monitoring on the situation in the Pantaron Range. It launched a hotline number through which community leaders and residents can immediately report any abuse they may encounter after they go back to their respective villages.

The hotline number will be given to the evacuees through their village datus during the send-off ceremony before they leave the city.

“We are concerned for their safety and security; we still consider them to be vulnerable to harassment and threats” according to University of the Philippines Professor. Aya Ragragio, and a member of the Defend Talaingod Save Pantaron Alliance.

“We are also enjoining the public, and especially the press, to keep in touch with us, to remain aware, and help document the situation of our lumad brothers and sisters”, she said.

Ragragio warned that “just because the evacuees can now return to their homes does not mean that their struggle is over”.

“We must all still be committed to help the Talaingod Manobos to assert their rights to a decent life and self-determination”, she concluded. (davaotoday.com)

 

     
     
           
     
 
     
     

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Lumad evacuees ready to return to Davao del Norte home
Soldiers agree to leave civilian facilities
By Germelina Lacorte
Inquirer Mindanao
2:23 pm | Monday, May 5th, 2014
 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Over 1,000 lumad evacuees from Talaingod in Davao del Norte have agreed to return home after top military officers agreed to move out government troops from barangay (village) halls and civilian facilities in 11 sitios (sub-village) of the town’s Barangay Palma Gil for the villagers’ peaceful return.
 

This developed as the group Defend Talaingod Save Pantaron Range Alliance launched a hotline to allow Talaingod Manobos to report abuses they may encounter upon their return.
 

“We are concerned for their safety,” said Professor Aya Ragrario, of Defend Talaingod, Save Pantaron Range Alliance. “We enjoin the public to keep in touch and be aware of what is happening in Talaingod.”
 

The military’s pull-out was part of the government’s April 29 commitment in a dialogue that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte arranged among the evacuees, the top military officials in the Eastern Mindanao Command and Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, to ensure the villagers’ safe return.
Lieutenant Colonel Jake Obligado, chief of the civil military operations of the 10th Infantry Division, however, said the immediate clearing of troops would not mean they would be barred from going to the sitios in the future.
“That is our mandate, no one could prevent us from going there,” Obligado said after the dialogue.
 

The Talaingod Manobos fled their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire as soldiers reportedly conducted aerial bombardment in March this year when fighting with the communist New People’s Army escalated. They returned to Talaingod on Saturday.
 

Although Duterte lauded the agreement reached among the evacuees of Talaingod, he said he would not allow soldiers to pull out of Paquibato District here, where government’s fight against the NPA has created a similar problem.
 

“I will not allow the pullout of government troops because that is their job– to go where the communists are,” Duterte said.
 

But Duterte has asked soldiers to stop the conduct of the so-called community “census,” where soldiers question residents about the members of their families, their organizational affiliations and their whereabouts. He also asked soldiers to pull out of barangay halls, daycare centers and other civilian facilities to protect civilians.
 

“I will ask them to stop questioning everybody, which is already scaring people in the communities,” he said, “If they want information, I’ll ask them to coordinate with barangay captains, instead.”
 

In a separate dialogue with Duterte, barangay captains in Paquibato have complained how they and their people have been subjected to “census” and questioning by the military, and have been tagged either as sympathizers and members of the NPA.
 

Celso Bughaw, barangay captain of Lumiad, Paquibato, said he was not the only one who felt being harassed and threatened by soldiers who told him he would not get elected in the barangay without the nod from the NPA.
 

Aida Seira, secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in the area and the Paquibato District Peasant Alliance, said people in the area have been subjected to census and threatened; and her husband, who has been working as an overseas contract worker (OFW) in Singapore, suspected to have joined the NPA because he was no longer seen around the area.
Paquibato officials have agreed to return home after Duterte assured them such questioning will no longer happen. He also ordered soldiers to move out of the barangay halls, daycare centers, schools and other civilian facilities although they are still allowed to roam outside the civilian centers.


From:
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/599697/lumad-evacuees-ready-to-return-to-davao-del-norte-home#ixzz31lF7opCB

     
     
MAKABAYAN representaives in Talaingod
     


Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate listens to Datu Ginumao Andil's account of militarization in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Numerous cases of threats and harassment have been recorded by human rights organization KARAPATAN. Upon returning to Congress, the lawmakers will file a resolution to investigate the militarization in Manobo communities.
 

           
     

Kilab Multimedia
May 9

Lumad woman leader goes to UN for IP rights.

Norma Capuyan, a Tagabawa-Bagobo Lumad leader from Arakan, North Cotabato will be going to United Nations Headquarters in New York on 10 May 2014 to speak for the rights of the indigenous people in Mindanao, particularly the plight of the Lumads in the midst of increasing number of human rights violations. In a press conference today, Capuyan said that she will present at the UN Permanent Forum the cases of violations perpetrated against Lumads and their communities from Arakan, Magpet and Makilala in North Cotabato province; Talaingod, Davao Del Norte, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon and Agusan. Human rights violations include extrajudicial killings, aerial bombardments, military encampment in schools and churches, and harassment against women and children. Capuyan is working for KALUMARAN, PASAKA and Apo-Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC) based in North Cotabato.
 

     
     
In Manila, support from KMU and other sectoral groups
     

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Media Release
14 May 2014

Workers picket Camp Aguinaldo, hit militarization in Mindanao

Despite the return of more than 1,000 Lumad evacuees to their communities in Talaingod town in Davao Oriental, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City this morning to call for a stop to the militarization in Mindanao.

Mindanao-based organizations claim that 60 per cent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ troops are at present deployed in the island, which resulted in the Lumad’s displacement from their communities and fears of a crackdown on progressive organizations in the area.

A national fact-finding mission led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and other progressive organizations are in Mindanao until May 16 to document and publicize the effects of the militarization in the island.

“The Aquino government persists in the mistaken notion that the growing armed insurgency in Mindanao and the country can be stopped through military means. Worse, this government is attacking communities and organizations which it accuses of supporting the insurgency,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

The Aquino government’s real motive, the labor leader said, is to clear the way for intensified mining and logging operations and to silence government critics in the island, who are some of the most vocal in the country.

“The militarization in Mindanao should open the eyes of our neighbors in Southeast Asia and the world to the Aquino government’s actions in the island. Aquino is not promoting peace and development in Mindanao; he is waging a war against the Filipino people for big foreign capitalists’ profits,” Soluta said.

The 1,353 Talaingod Manobos arrived in Davao City on April 3, after a six-day trek from their ancestral domain in Pantaron mountains where they had been subjected to abuses, threats and harassments, bombings and indiscriminate firing by soldiers from the 60th Infantry Battalion (IB), 68th IB of the 1003rd Brigade, and 4th Special Forces.

The Manobos agreed to return to their communities only last May 5, after a dialogue with Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao, AFP Gen. Ariel Bernardo in which the military had agreed to stop operations in Talaingod but only for two days.

Initial reports from Defend Talaingod, Save Pantaron Alliance say that 88 per cent of homes in the worst hit sitios either sustained damages, registered missing items, or were ransacked. Schools were also ransacked and vandalized while livestock and coconuts were wiped out.

Human-rights group Karapatan states that of the 192 cases of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration, 25 occured in Southern Mindanao region, where the Davao provinces belong to.

Reference: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, 0928-7215313

     
           
     
     


Standing by, defending the Talaingod Manobo

By Satur C. Ocampo
At Ground Level | The Philippine Star

They’re at it again, or rather, they haven’t stopped doing it. Over the past two months they have been doing the same in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and other places in the Davao region.

I refer to the AFP’s counterinsurgency forces under Oplan Bayanihan ­— in the guise of “peace and development” teams — who occupy schools, health centers, and chapels in rural communities and terrorize the villagers in blatant violation of international humanitarian law and Republic Act 7610.

This is the fourth piece I have written on this issue.

On Aug. 13, 2011, I detailed the three-month occupation by 17th and 73rd IB soldiers of the Blaan Literacy School and Learning Center in Upper Suyuan, Malapitan, Sarangani province. The school’s NGO sponsor and the community fought back. They filed charges of human rights violations against the soldiers at the Commission on Human Rights.

My July 21, 2012 piece pertained to the 118 teachers and directors of literacy and non-formal schools in northeastern Mindanao, who demanded the withdrawal of soldiers who had occupied their schools, interrogated the teachers, conducted classes, and branded their schools as “rebel schools.”

Last Feb. 1, I wrote about Grade 6 and high school students who since July 1, 2012 were required, under Memorandum No. 68 of the Department of Education-CAR, to participate in AFP-conducted counterinsurgency lectures during class hours in Baguio City public schools.

Recent documentations by Karapatan-Southern Mindanao show that the military have practically taken over the following schools:

• Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Learning Center Inc. (STTILCI) in Talaingod and Compostela Valley.

• Monkayo Vocational School in Compostela Valley (the 25th IB parked their APC vehicles in the school compound).

• Tugbok Elementary and High School in Tugbok District, Davao City (84th IB often parked a 6-by-6 truck in the school gym).

• Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato (10th Special Forces and 57th IB troops, in full uniform and carrying firearms, freely went in and out of the school; some played basketball, and used the school’s Internet).

• Kalasagan Elementary School in San Isidro, Lupon, Davao Oriental (occupied by the 28th IB and 2nd Scout Rangers unit; they also occupied the barangay hall, health center, chapel, basketball courts, and some residents’ homes).

The locations of these schools show that the counterinsurgency troops have extended their illegal occupation of schools in rural communities into the town centers and Davao City.

A harrowing situation is what the month-long counterinsurgency operations and troop occupation (March 3-April 3, 2014) has inflicted on the communities of the Talaingod Manobo people of Davao del Norte.

 

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Almost 1,700 villagers have been displaced: 972, of whom 515 were children, trekked to Davao City to draw attention to their plight and elicit support. The rest scattered, some reaching as far as Bukidnon.

Accountability for their plight has been pinned on the 60th, 68th and 1003rd IBs and the 4th Special Forces of the AFP.
 

On the positive side: In behalf of the evacuees, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario dialogued with high-ranking AFP officers last April 29. The latter agreed to pull out the troops from the communities so the evacuees could return home.

Let’s take a brief look into some incidents:

The troubles in Talaingod began last March 3, when soldiers came to Barangay Palma Gil and began interrogating teachers and volunteer workers at the STTILCI, accusing them of working for a school “operated” by the New People’s Army.

On March 10, the soldiers seized Ubunay Botod Manlaon, an elderly woman, and forced her to act as their guide for a week. She was allegedly treated in a “dehumanizing way and subjected to sexual abuse.”

On March 15, in Nalubas village, soldiers stopped 13 children, three parents, village leader Tungig Mansimuy-at and teacher Roilan Licayan on their way to Palungan to procure foodstuff for their school’s recognition rites. The soldiers photographed and interrogated the group, then accompanied them to Palungan. On their way back home, the group was again accosted and interrogated by another team of soldiers for an hour.

On March 26, the villages of Bagang and Laslasakan in Palma Gil were subjected to aerial bombing, followed by strafing and indiscriminate firing by soldiers in the next two days.

On March 27, the villagers of Pangaan, Nalubas, Pongpong, Bayabas, and Bugni began their trek to the lower village of Laslasakan before proceeding to Davao City. The situation in their villages had become unbearable, the evacuees claimed, because soldiers had threatened them and prevented them from tending their farms.

Tomorrow at a public forum in Davao City, a National Humanitarian Fact-Finding Mission will report on its findings in Talaingod, Maco (Compostela Valley), Arakan-Magpet (North Cotabato), and Paquibato (Davao City). The forum’s hosts — Exodus for Justice and Peace and Defend Talaingod, Save Pantaron Range Alliance — wrote this tribute to the Talaingod Manobo’s struggle:

“We are roused to support their cause. We are moved by the children’s simple dreams. We are awed by the datus’ wisdom and their unity. We are inspired by their courage.”

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E-mail: satur.ocampo@gmail.com
May 17, 2014

- See more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/05/17/standing-by-defending-the-talaingod-manobo/#sthash.dkzVuwpZ.dpuf

 

 

           
           
           
           

 

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