“We were used by the military to join rallies”- Talaingod Bakwit

PUPPET MASTERS Lumads from Talaingod were coerced into protesting for the military at Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City, last June 12. Out of fear, they willingly complied to the orders of the military. (Photo by Ace Morandante of Davao Today, Caption by Samuel dela Cruz).
PUPPET MASTERS Lumads from Talaingod were coerced into protesting for the military at Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City, last June 12. Out of fear, they willingly complied to the orders of the military. (Photo by Ace Morandante of Davao Today, Caption by Samuel dela Cruz).

DAVAO CITY- Some lumads from militarized Sitio Laslasakan, Talaingod, Davao del Norte reported that they have been coerced by the military to join protests in Tagum and Davao City.

According to Niño (Not his real name), he and his companions in Sitio Laslasakan were harassed by the military, then coerced to falsely admit that they were NPA.

“Nahadlok na jud mi ato, mao napugos na lang mi ug tug-an, maski dili tinuod, na NPA mi,” (We were really afraid, so we were forced to admit, even when it was not true, that we were NPA’s”) Niño said.

Days later, Nino was brought to JBL in Talaingod, where they were presented as rebel returnees to the public.  A sack of rice was promised to them after their participation in the said conference, which lasted for three days.

On June 12, they boarded trucks and were sent to the Radyo ni Juan station in Tagum City, where they were told to rally gainst the said station.

“Gi-ingnan mi sa sundalo ‘Shagit mo na tarungon sa RnJ (Radyo ni Juan) ang ilang pagbalita, dili na tirahon ang mga military’” (“We were told by the soldiers ‘Shout out to RnJ that they should do right their reportage, to not anymore make bad remarks about the military’”), Niño said. They boarded the trucks once more, and were brought to Camp Panacan in Davao City.

“Pag-abot sa Davao, gipa-rally na pud mi didto sa Panacan. Ingon ang sundalo manawagan daw na ibalik ang PDAF, nya pahawoon ang mga eskwelahan sa Salugpungan, ug ipabilin ang military sa Talaingod (“Upon arrival in Davao, we were made to protest once more in Panacan. The soldiers said that we should call for the return of PDAF, for the removal of the Salugpungan schools, and for the military to remain in Talaingod”), Nino said.

Asked whether he knew what PDAF meant, Niño said “wala ko kabalo unsa jud na. Unsa diay na?” (“I do not know what that is. What is that?”).

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, said that the case of Nino and several others are again another glaring example of the military’s tactic of pitting the lumads against each other.

“Lt.Col. Vicente Edgardo de Ocampo of the 68th IB and Col. Ricardo Nepomuceno of the 1003rd have been making puppets of the Talaingod Manobos. It is clear that their presence and hand in Talaingod bring nothing more but even greater hardships for the people.”

“If the 68th IB continues to encamp in their houses and communities, it means that there will be more Nino’s in the future. The victims of scenarios like these are not just the Talaingod Manobos, but the public as well, who have become helpless lambs in the ill propaganda propagated by the military.”

“With Niño’s story, it is clear that it is the military who is manipulating the lumads, capitalizing on their fear of them and their poverty,” Suazo concluded.

 

AUGUST 10, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

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