IN PHOTOS: 67th Human Rights Day In Southern Mindanao

More than a thousand people converged in Davao City on Human Rights Day, to once again call for the pull-out of military troops in the countryside and end to the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino administration.

Lumad evacuees from Davao del Norte, Bukidnon, and Compostela Valley were joined by peasants and urban activists as they marched the thoroughfares of Davao, shouting “Pakyason ang Oplan Bayanihan!” (“Defeat Oplan Bayanihan!”), “Ihunong ang militarisasyon sa kabukiran!” (“End the militarization in the countryside!”), and “Yutang Kabilin! Depensahan! Ipaglaban!” (“Ancestral Lands! Defend! Fight for!”).

(Photos and caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR).

Protesters begin to line up at Magsaysay Park at 9 AM

 

2
They march towards Freedom Park. The sight of over a thousand people in red draws the attention of people from the sides.

 

3
The group finally arrives at Freedom Park, the first protest site for the Human Rights Day.

 

4
Portraits of top human rights defenders are erected for all to identify.

 

5
Rciky Balilid, a teacher from the MISFI Academy in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, narrates how teachers in lumad alternative schools are red-tagged by the military as NPA educators.

 

7
Jinky Malibato, a student of the MISFI Academy in Kapalong, narrates the total lack of government support towards education in their area, and its attacks to their school.

 

8
Cultural performers sing “Oplan Bayanihan”, a song criticizing mainly the deceptive nature of the Aquino regime’s counterinsurgency program, and calls for peoples’ resistance.

 

Benito Bay-ao from Talaingod condemns DepEd for its decision against the opening of lumad schools this year, and calls for the scrapping of DepEd Memo 221.

 

8
Protesters marched again, this time towards Rizal Park, their second station for their protest.

 

9
Datu Juanito from Kitaotao, Bukidnon, recounts how he and 13 others were illegally arrested by elements of the 8th IB, who branded them as members of the NPA.

 

After a brief lunch, protesters boarded trucks and jeeps, then travelling to the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan.

 

Upon arrival, they line up, in preparation of their march towards the last protest station.

 

10
Lumad youth bring out their calls and indigenous bamboo instrument bangkakawan in front of Camp Felix Apolinario, headquarters of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

 

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR: "Oplan Bayanihan has failed in SMR in the island of Mindanao, in the entire country, for the likes of us are still (protesting) here today,
Hanimay Suazo (middle, in red), secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR: “Oplan Bayanihan has failed in SMR in the island of Mindanao, in the entire country, for the likes of us are still (protesting) here today.

 

A military agent was handed over by marshals of the event to the police. The agent was caught sneaking in taking pictures of the lumad. When accosted, he struggled to escape, leading to a commotion and his eventual capture by the marshals.

 

Isabello Tindasan, chairperson of the Compostela Farmers Association, narrated how he and several others experienced threats to their lives after they showed resistance to the operations of the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation in their area. Tindasan has survived two strafing incidents by military forces in the last six months.
Isabello Tindasan, chairperson of the Compostela Farmers Association, narrated how he and several others experienced threats to their lives after they showed resistance to the operations of the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation in their area. Tindasan has survived two strafing incidents by military forces in the last six months.

 

14
Military men are jeered upon by the crowd of protesters as they passed by.

 

Rep. Karlos Zarate from Bayan Muna decried the proliferation of trumped-up charges against members of progressive groups, making a mockery of the justice system in the country.
Rep. Karlos Zarate from Bayan Muna decried the proliferation of trumped-up charges against members of progressive groups, making a mockery of the justice system in the country.

 

Jimboy Mandaguit, head of KASILO, a lumad organization in San Fernando Bukidnon, condemned the absence of justice in the killing of Datu Jimmy Liguyon, whom the former succeeded after the latter was killed for his anti-mining stance. His killer was Alde “”Butsoy’ Salusad, a paramilitary leader known for his connections with the AFP.

 

Portraits of the top human rights violators under the Aquino regime are placed in front of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

 

16
In a symbolic form of resistance, Lumad spear with their banners the four, ripping the portraits to pieces.

 

A student steps on a scrap from the portrait to break it further.

 

A protester holds up high another scrap before beating it moments after.

 

Protesters continue to attack the symbols of impunity.
Protesters continue to attack the symbols of impunity.

 

A last dip of their symbolic spear, before they made an organized departure from the Eastern Mindanao Command.
A last dip of their symbolic spear, before they made an organized departure from the Eastern Mindanao Command.

 

 

###

HR Day in Southern Mindanao: “We will run after the Aquino regime”

COMPOSTELA BAKWIT Over 200 Manobos from Compostela went down from their homes in the mountains after military forces encamped in their community. This is the latest massive evacuation in Southern Mindanao, with 700 other Manobos from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon in UCCP Haran after soldiers militarized their populations as well. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia, Caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)
COMPOSTELA BAKWIT Over 200 Manobos from Compostela went down from their homes in the mountains after military forces encamped in their community. This is the latest massive evacuation in Southern Mindanao, with 700 other Manobos from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon in UCCP Haran after soldiers militarized their populations as well. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia. Caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)

DAVAO CITY- Thousands staged a caravan protest towards the Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP, in line with the Human Rights Day today.

Human rights group Karapatan decried the Aquino regime’s “Tuwid na daan” (righteous road), saying that it led “hundreds to hell in the six years of implementation of Oplan Bayanihan”.

Activists say that they will “run after the Aquino regime. We are readying ourselves to chase the monstrosity that is Aquino after its last six months in office, and make it accountable for its crimes.”

“50 individuals have become victims of human rights violations under the Aquino regime in Southern Mindanao. Not one has been given justice, with the snail-paced investigations of government agencies, which we surmise are their roles in the counterinsurgency program, under the “Whole of the Nation Initiative” framework.”

“Over 2500 individuals in Southern Mindanao alone have been victims of displacement due to militarization, including hundreds of lumad children whose education had abruptly ended due to the various forms of attacks by state forces,” said Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Secretary-General Hanimay Suazo.

Suazo added the recent case of evacuation of over 200 individuals from Purok 4B, Brgy. Mangayon, Compostela, due to the encampment of heavily armed elements from the 66th IB, led by a Lt. Danjoe Lagula.

“The schooling of almost a hundred students had to stop earlier than the intended Christmas break, owing to the presence of these men in the purok at the center of the community, only 50 meters from the lumad school,” Suazo said.

Aside from the attacks on schools, Suazo also scored the Aquino government for its “legal offensive” against members of progressive organizations vocal against the anti-people policies of the government.

“We remember that the organizers of the barricade in Montevista last 2013 were victims of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation for calling for relief goods and other governmental aid. Likewise, heads of support groups for the lumad evacuees here in Davao were also maliciously filed with trumped-up cases of trafficking and kidnapping of the lumad. These cases were filed even after UN Special Rapporteur on IDP’s Chaloka Beyani said that the lumad in Haran are not victims of human trafficking, and have come down from the mountains of their own free will.”

Karapatan-SMR tallied 107 individuals affected  by over -62 trumped-up charges filed by state agents. Also, there are 55 political prisoners in the region.

Suazo says that in the remaining months of the Aquino regime, the military “will display its most ferocious and fascist form, in a bid to achieve its goals as its deadline draws near.”

“We can be certain that there will be more attacks against the people. More blood will be spilled, more schools will be closed. More paramilitary groups will be formed, with greater impunity.”

“The only way to defeat Oplan Bayanihan is for the people to unite and tirelessly call for justice and end to militarization in the countryside. And we are certain that we will defeat Oplan Bayanihan. This counterinsurgency program has only made clear that this government is one that kills its own people, and the only recourse is resistance,” Suazo concluded.

 

FOR REFERENCE: Hanimay Suazo

0932-198-6728

 

###