Lumad organizations in Mindanao are once more reiterating their call to the Duterte administration to disarm and dismantle indigenous paramilitary groups and order the arrest of the culprits of extra-judicial killings following the strafing incident perpetrated by the indigenous paramilitary group NIPAR (New Indigenous Army for Reform) which left a 25-year- old pregnant Manobo Tigwahanon woman dead and seven others, mostly children, wounded in Sitio Tibugawan, Barangay Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon last July 30.
These indigenous paramilitary groups are plain murderers in rampage. They are manipulated by their similarly monstrous creator, the AFP, to kill their kin and divide our ranks to pave the way for corporate entities to plunder our ancestral lands.
It pains us to be reminded that indigenous paramilitary groups such as Alamara, Magahat-Bagani Force, BULIF, Wild Dogs/Salakawan, among others, were responsible for the string of extra-judicial killings of Lumad leaders and IP advocates who actively resisted the entry and operations of destructive multinational ventures like large-scale mining and plantations in our ancestral lands.
Worst, the perpetrators have remained scot-free until today, enjoying a special protection accorded to them by the military. Alde Salusad himself, the leader of the NIPAR responsible for the July 30 strafing incident and the one who killed anti-mining Matigsalog chieftain Jimmy Liguyon in Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon in 2010, is now being coddled by the 68th IB despite being served with an arrest warrant for killing Liguyon.
To cite a few of the extra-judicial killings are: the killing of Higaonon leader Datu Maampagi Belayong by BULIF forces and his nephew Arpe Belayong by Wild Dogs/Salakawan in Agusan del Norte in 2009; the killing of Banwaon leader Datu Mansubaybay Badbaran and his nephew Rico by Bagani Force in Agusan del Sur in 2009; the killing of Higaonon chieftain Rolando Ambongan by the same group in Agusan del Norte in 2014; the killing of Lumad school Director Emerito Samarca and Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo by Magahat forces in Surigao del Sur in 2015; the killing of 15-year-old Ata Manobo Alibando Tingkas in Talaingod, Davao del Norte by an Alamara member on January 17, 2016.
Of the 86 cases of extra-judicial killings of Lumad documented during the period 2010-2015 alone, 38 were perpetrated by indigenous paramilitary elements.
The reason for their killings was conspicuously common—they were involved with Lumad organizations advancing the rights and lot of Lumads and opposing corporate concerns in their ancestral lands.
It is regrettable to note that the July 30 strafing incident came a few hours before President Duterte lifted his declaration of unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army. It is indicative of the defiance of the stubborn and treacherous AFP to carry out the order of no less than their Commander-In-Chief to cease from engaging the NPA in combat battles. The AFP has continued to unleash its barbaric attacks against the people.
The Lumad’s demand of disarming and dismantling the indigenous paramilitary group also warrants the scrapping of the bogus Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 which facilitates the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT). These CADTs are rather exploited by multinational firms through the IPRA-borne NCIP to manipulate and arm Lumad leaders to open vast portions of ancestral lands for big corporate activities such as mining, plantations, and logging.
We are putting forward our demands to once and for all end brutalities against us and for us to enjoy a peaceful environment which has been deprived from us for a long, long time now.
Dulphing B. Ogan
August 1, 2016
[PHOTO: One of the children victim of strafing now in the hospital. Photo by Winbel Mordino Visitacion]