“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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Lumad Leaders Ask “Where is CHR?”

ANIMAL RAGE Members of the San Pedro Police force their way in to the UCCP Haran compound where over 700 lumad evacuees have sought refuge. This, despite the absence of documents to legitimize their entry (Photo by Karlos Manlupig, text by Siam Ores)
ANIMAL RAGE Members of the San Pedro Police force their way in to the UCCP Haran compound where over 700 lumad evacuees have sought refuge. This, despite the absence of documents to legitimize their entry. 15 lumads and members of support groups were injured due to the incident. (Photo by Karlos Manlupig, text by Siam Ores)

 

JULY 27, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

DAVAO CITY- After the violent and illegal police assault against the 700 lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran last July 23, lumad leaders are quick to ask for the response of government agencies regarding the matter.

Datu Doloman Dawsay, spokesperson of the Talaingod Manobo organization Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, says that the CHR should set its sights on the police brutality under Nancy Catamco’s manipulation.

Dawsay added that the CHR should do its tasks, and stop being inutile.

“Kani, nahitabo na jud sa ilang tugkaran, siyaro di pa jud nila atimanon. Buhaton na jud unta nila ilang trabaho, undangon na nila ilang pagka-walay pulos” (“This happened in their own backyard, it would be unseemly if they don’t take action about it. They should do their job, they should stop being useless”).

Lumad leader Bai Bibyaon Bigkay shared Doloman’s sentiment.

“Kung dili mi matabangan sa CHR, pasabot lang jud ana dapig sila kay Nancy Catamco, batok sila sa mga susama namong mga lumad” (“If CHR cannot help us, it only means that they are siding with Nancy Catamco, they are against us lumads”).

Karapatan-SMR secretary-general Hanimay Suazo echoed the calls of the lumad leaders, saying that CHR “should get dirty in the real world”.

“They have to get out of their office comfort zones and see for themselves the situation of the lumads. They should stop housing themselves in the ivory towers of bureaucracy.”

Suazo added that CHR must bridge the gap between itself and human rights victims, if they are to do their job.

“You cannot expect an illiterate lumad from the hinterlands to just drop by the CHR and say ‘Hi there, I wish to avail of my rights and the services offered by this office’. CHR must be the one to reach out to these people.”

“Otherwise, they’re just another useless agency who allow human rights violations to go unpunished.”

Suazo also belied government agencies’ claim like DSWD and CHR that they’re barred to enter the evacuation camp at UCCP Haran. According to her, “some of them had been here just to survey, they have not talked to the evacuees and as usual, did nothing significant.”

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Reposting UCCP SEMJA STATEMENT: “RESPECT THE CHURCH AS SANCTUARY OF PEACE, STOP HARASSMENTS ON UCCP CHURCH WORKERS”

We are reposting the official statement of the UCCP SEMJA regarding the violent police assault by elements of the PNP 11 under the San Pedro Police Station, commanded by Col. Marvin Pepino and Supt. Lao.

Despite the pleas of UCCP pastors for the police to leave, they destroyed the gate of the UCCP compound, and beat up the lumad leaders and members of support groups who stood their ground. Over 700 lumad evacuees had to evacuate from their evacuation zone.

UCCP Press Statement-page-001 UCCP Press Statement-page-002

“We believe that God is at work, to make each person a new being in Christ and the whole world, God’s kingdom – in which love, justice and peace prevail. The Kingdom of God is present where faith in Jesus Christ is shared, where healing is given to the sick, where food is given to the hungry, where light is given to the blind, and where liberty is given to the captive and the oppressed. – UCCP Statement of Faith

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines strongly condemn the illegal and violent conduct of the Police forces along with ALAMARA, a paramilitary group, by using excessive force to break through the premises of HARAN Mission House yesterday morning July 23. This incident not only shows the brutal behaviour of the PNP but the disrespectful they have shown in treating our UCCP Pastors by beating them with truncheons, pushing them with steel shields. The PNP personnel also destroyed the Church’s gate.

We are outraged at this show of excessive force more so because the PNP did not have any warrant to enter and search the Church facility, which is a private property.

What transpired was a failure and insensitivity, not only by the PNP but also on the part of government officials headed by Rep. Nancy Catamco, Congresswoman of 2nd District North Cotabato, who is supposed to be in the first place in charge of House of Representatives committee on Indigenous People. They failed in heeding to the demands of our Ata-Manobo brothers and sisters that military forces must be pulled out from their villages in order for them to go home and live their lives peacefully.

Just a few hours prior to the violent incident, the Church facilitated a dialogue with DSWD and NCIP, and came up with resolutions that they would just attend to the needs of the women and children. But even while the resolution was being firmed out, the PNP terrorized the evacuees with their presence in full riot gear, the presence of paramilitary group ALAMARA, demolition team, fire trucks and military trucks, and then proceeded to destroy the gate and forcibly entered the church premises.

HARAN Mission House owned by UCCP has long been a Peace Sanctuary for the lost, the last and the least of our people. It is a place purposely created to accommodate individuals or communities that were deprived, neglected, exploited, and suppressed with their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

Our fellow Ata-Manobos sought help and refuge in our Church since 1995, the first of a series of internal displacement due to militarization that happened. Providing them sanctuary in our peace haven is a duty we embrace arising from our own Declaration of Principles.

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines demands accountability from Rep. Nancy Catamco, the ALAMARA and the PNP Region 11 for their unlawful conduct through harassment, intimidation, forcible entry and destruction of our Church property. We cry for justice for our fellow Church workers who have been harassed, and terrorized. We decry the trumped up charges filed on our Pastors.

And we call on all sectors to denounce the ongoing militarization and human rights violations in Indigenous Peoples community and to strengthen inter-faith and tri-people efforts to build unity, justice and peace, in response to the plight of our Ata Manobo brothers and sisters.

 

 

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Progressive Groups to “SLAPP-back”

LAUGHING IT OFF Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, chuckles as she reads the names of the persons filed with trumped up cases of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and human trafficking by the CIDG 11 and suspected military cohorts. (Photo and caption by Samuel dela Cruz, Karapatan-SMR)
LAUGHING IT OFF Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, chuckles as she reads the names of the persons filed with trumped up cases of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and human trafficking by the CIDG 11 and suspected military cohorts. (Photo and caption by Samuel dela Cruz, Karapatan-SMR)

JULY14 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

DAVAO CITY- Progressive groups slammed the trumped-up charges filed by the CIDG against leaders of progressive organizations involved in the evacuation of hundreds of lumads from Talaingod.

On May 12,2015 formal complaints were filed at the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office against 15 leaders from different progressive organizations who were involved in the issue of evacuation of lumads in the region. All of them were accused of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and human trafficking of lumad evacuees to Davao City.

Included in the list of accused are: Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of KARAPATAN-SMR; Rev. Jurie Jaime of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR)-SMR; Sheena Duazo of BAYAN-SMR; Ryan Lariba of BAYAN-Socsksargen; Tony Salubre of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-SMR; Mary Ann Sapar of Gabriela-SMR; Jaja Necosia of RCPA Productions-Broadcasting; Kerlan Fanagel, secretary general of the Lumad group PASAKA; Sr. Stella Matutina of PANALIPDAN-Mindanao; Isidro Indao, spokesperson of PASAKA; Kharlo Manano, national secretary general of SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns and spokesperson of the Save Our Schools network; Rius Valle of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center-SMR; Jimboy Marciano of SAMA-AKO-KMU, Pedro Arnado, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubkid ng Pilipinas-SMR, along with John Does.

The complainants are Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG XI), Angkomog brothers, ALAMARA paramilitary group, backed-up by Nestor Apas, known racketeer and collaborator of the AFP, and 68th IB-10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP.

Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan-SMR immediately brushed off the trumped-up charges, saying that these were all concoctions to hinder their work and meant to intimidate the human rights defenders.

“This is a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) against human rights defenders. The purpose of this is to silence the critics of the government, especially those from progressive groups and victims of human rights violations. This is one of the dirty tactics under the Oplan Bayanihan.”

Suazo said that the filing of trumped-up charges has become a common occurrence.

“Lumad leader Jomorito Guaynon from Bukidnon and staff members of Karapatan-SOCKSSARGEN have also become recent victims of SLAPP.”

Kailo Buntolan, member of the Salugupungan, said that they were not harmed by the progressive groups in the course of the evacuation.

“Wala man mi nila gipasakitan. Unsa man ni sila, military? Sila pa gani ang nasakitan, kay sila ang mainitan sa pag-luto sa amo pagkaon” (“They did not hurt us. Why would they hurt us, just are they, the military? They are the ones who get hurt, because they get burns from cooking our food”), Buntolan said.

Asked for what their next steps would be, Suazo said that they will not stop in advancing and defending human rights and determined to pursue justice.

“We will SLAPP back and we will fight for justice,” Suazo ended.

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Third SP Hearing on PQ 3 Sets Momentum for Justice

July 7, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

 

 

DAVAO CITY- The sole survivor of the Paquibato Massacre last June 14 continued to assert the civilian status of her slain neighbors and of her daughter, during the third session of the hearing by the city council regarding the incident.

“Nanay Cita”, mother of Aida Seisa, who survived the shooting spree by the elements of the 69th IB, said that she will persist to file charges against the military.

“Musampa jud mi ug kaso Sir, kay sibilyang dako jud ning ako mga silingan. Kaning akong anak, mao ra pud ni ang mutabang sa mga gipang-abuso sa military, dili na siya NPA” (“We will certainly file a case (against the military), because my neighbors were really civilians. My daughter, she’s the one who helps those who have been abused by the military, she is not an NPA”), said Cita to Coun. Bello.

Coun. Bello brought up the issue of how civilians in conflict areas are perceived, particularly those bearing progressive ideas or having sympathies with armed groups.

“Kung ako magpakape sa NPA, NPA na diay dayon ko?,” Bello asked during the hearing.

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, said that they are determined to attain justice for the victims of the Paquibato Massacre.

“We are prepared for the long battle ahead. We expect the military to play dirty like they always do. But we will not stop until the 69th IB is made accountable to its crimes.”

 

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