The People Will Paint the Town Red against This Yellow Martial Law

WAR AGAINST THE PEOPLE Lumad who sought shelter in UCCP Haran after their communities were militarized once again experience an assault to their human rights. Pictured above is Demon Manayab, a two-year old child who sustained burns from the fire (Photo by Kilab Multimedia).
WAR AGAINST THE PEOPLE Lumad who sought shelter in UCCP Haran after their communities were militarized once again experience an assault to their human rights. Pictured above is Demon Manayab, a two-year old child who sustained burns from the fire (Photo by Kilab Multimedia).

(Statement on the commemoration of the EDSA 1 Revolution and the current human rights violations in the region)

It has been 30 years after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, yet not much has changed for the people.

Human rights continue to plague lumads, peasants, agri-workers especially in Southern Mindanao where 57 defenders against mining, plantations and militarization here have been killed by suspected state forces.  Seven of them were killed in 30 days from January to February.

Sectors such as church people, students, professionals, and others are under assault by fascist state forces, who label this enraged population as threats to national security.They display their sickening brutality with trumped-up charges against leaders of people’s organizations.

For them, if they cannot silence the defenders, they might as well burden them with legal actions, thus bastardizing the legal system and mock our democratic rights as a people.

In the past six years, Southern Mindanao has seen the increase of six battalions deployed to the region, along with even more sickening tactics to quash the people’s defiance. The recent torching incident in the lumad evacuation camp in UCCP Haran and the military attacks in Sitio Diat, Post Four, Brgy. Napnapan in Compostela Valley show how savage the Aquino regime is.

The dark days of Martial Law may be over, but the sickening rule of the military over the countrysides and the attack on our legal democratic rights show that the abuses of the state continue to haunt us.

But where there is oppression, it breeds resistance. Where the attacks and plunder continue, so does the peoples’ movement grow. Everyday more Filipinos are awakened to the horrors of state fascism, to the corruption in government, and ineptness over the many ills in society.

The communities in Southern Mindanao may see zones of military rule and plunder from mining and plantations. But more are taking on these tyrants in the streets and in their own land.  The people’s continuing resistance will show that democracy and human rights are superior over the desperate attempts of the regime to silence dissent.

The people of Southern Mindanao do not forget the dark days of Martial Law, for they are living in the same worse conditions under the yellow skies of the Aquino. And so, the resistance continues. We survived Marcos’ Martial Law. We will do so again in Aquino’s regime.

 

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“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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HR Group Likens State Forces to “Lowly Gangs’; Says Evacs have to Stay

HOLDING GROUND Bukidnon lumad leader Jimboy Mandaguit stands with other leaders from Davao del Norte, disputing the claims of the Alamara that it is safe to return in their communities in the countryside. (Photo by Kidlat Pamukaw, caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)
HOLDING GROUND Bukidnon lumad leader Jimboy Mandaguit stands with other leaders from Davao del Norte, disputing the claims of the Alamara that it is safe to return in their communities in the countryside. (Photo by Kidlat Pamukaw, caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)

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

DAVAO CITY- Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, said that state forces are the only ones interested in sending the text threats to the leaders of lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran.

Suazo adds that the military and their political cohorts are desperate to break the will of the lumad evacuees, after their “rescue” miserably failed.

“It is disappointing that instead of addressing the root causes of conflict, the state elements have resorted to text threats. Such is the act of gangsters and crime lords, who resort to violence to settle trouble instead of studying the problems correctly.”

“The July 23 incident clearly showed that violence is not the answer to the problem of the lumads. But these state forces only add fuel to the fire, with the messages they are sending,” Suazo said.

Suazo said that with these threats, the reason for the lumads to take shelter in Davao City has only strengthened.

“Their lives are at risk. If they experience these threats while under sanctuary of the church, how much more when they return to their homes, where there are no fences to fend off their attackers, where media coverage is scant to expose their situation? All the more that these people have to remain in the safety of their evacuation site.”

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Text Threats Hound Lumad Leaders in Haran

TARGET Benito Bay-ao (speaking with the microphone) is a lumad leader from Talaingod, Davao del Norte, who had received a text message threatening his life and of other lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran. Bay-ao is very vocal against the militarization of lumad areas, and was among one of those hurt in the July 23 forced entry of police and intelligence forces in the UCCP Haran, where he and 700 others have taken sanctuary. (Photo by Paulo Cabataña Rizal of HIMATI, caption by Lian Manalo, Karapatan-SMR)
TARGET Benito Bay-ao (speaking with the microphone) is a lumad leader from Talaingod, Davao del Norte, who had received a text message threatening his life and of other lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran. Bay-ao is very vocal against the militarization of lumad areas, and was among one of those hurt in the July 23 forced entry of police and intelligence forces in the UCCP Haran, where he and 700 others have taken sanctuary. (Photo by Paulo Cabataña Rizal of HIMATI, caption by Lian Manalo, Karapatan-SMR)

AUGUST 6, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

DAVAO CITY- Leaders of lumad evacuees sheltered in UCCP Haran decried “death threats” from unknown individuals since the botched rescue of police elements and government agencies last July 23.

The threats, sent through text messages, accuse the evacuees of being “supporters of the NPA”, and urging them to “stop being used as pawns” by the said group.

Some messages even challenge the evacuees to a one-on-one fight with the anonymous people sending the messages.

Benito Bay-ao, of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of the Ancestral Land), is the latest victim of this “text threats”.

“I received a text two days ago. It told me that the Alamara knew that in reality, we were supporters of the NPA.”

“It further said that if ‘they’ enter here (UCCP Haran), we won’t just be beaten up. We would be killed,” Bay-ao said.

Palo (not his real name), a youth leader from Kapalong, said that he had received text threats only two days after the incident in July 23.

Palo too, was told that they would be killed.

Palo became prominent after the failed rescue, as he was photographed while in the frontlines of those who formed a human barricade to deter the entry of the police.

But the lumad leaders remain undaunted in their stand.

“We are not afraid. Why would we be afraid? We have done nothing wrong,” Bay-ao said.

“They can kill us all they want, but what will they gain? Anyway, it would be better for us to die than to cower in fear, or to join the Alamara,” Bay-ao said.

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DECLARATION OF PERSONA NON GRATA STATUS TO NANCY CATAMCO

We are reposting the declaration of “Persona Non Grata” status to Nancy Catamco by the 700 Manobo evacuees led by the lumad leaders of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of the Ancestral Land).

BLESS THIS GROUND AND FORBID THAT WOMAN Lumad who have evacuated in UCCP Haran hold up a banner declaring Rep. Nancy Catamco
BLESS THIS GROUND AND FORBID THAT WOMAN Lumad who have evacuated in UCCP Haran hold up a banner declaring Rep. Nancy Catamco “Persona Non Grata”. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia, Caption by Samuel dela Cruz)

We, leaders of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, do hereby declare a persona non grata status to Rep. Nancy Catamco, for her:

1) Deception of over 700 lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran last July 16, where she brought B/Gen. Alexander Balutan of the 10th ID and Col. Harold Cabreros of the 1003rd Bde, PA, and their intelligence cohorts into the evacuation area without the prior knowledge of the evacuees and their support groups. This illegal entry of the military forces posed significant danger to the refugees;

2) Disrespect for the lumad leaders from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte,and from San Fernando, Bukidnon, by questioning the legitimacy of their status as leaders;

3) Siding with the military, as manifested in her refusal to heed and understand the calls of the evacuees for the pull-out of military forces in their communities, thus becoming an AFP spokesperson;

4) Twisting of facts during and after the dialogue, which obscured the reality of intense militarization in the countryside and the genuine struggle of us lumads for our rights;

5) Insensitivity to our current situation, when she called our children “stinky”, and the lumad population “ignorant”;

6) Surrender of her lumad status by her clear collaboration with state elements who threaten the lives and cultures of lumads.

We hereby close all avenues of interaction with Catamco. She also cannot enter the grounds of our evacuation site here in UCCP Haran, or in our communities in Talaingod

Many times in the past we have taken part in dialogues mediated by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and many times we have been treated with respect and understanding, our side heard and articulated fairly by Mayor himself. Such are the kind of dialogues that we will willingly enter, not the ones where Nancy Catamco presides and steps on our human rights and dignities.

Here we also reaffirm that we are the true leaders of the people in Talaingod, not the IPMR leaders under the NCIP, which have become the current puppies of the reactionary government of the US-Aquino regime.

Given this day July 22, 2015,

Datu Doloman Dawsay

Datu Ginom Andel

Benito Bay-ao

Kailo Bontulan

HR Group: “Catamco and DCPO are the real human-traffickers”

JUBILANT AND DEFIANT Lumad children and their parents raise their fists after successfully holding their ground against the efforts of Rep. Nancy Catamco and police elements to forcibly bring them out of their evacuation site in UCCP Haran. (Photo by Kidlat Pamukaw, text by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)
JUBILANT AND DEFIANT Lumad children and their parents raise their fists after successfully holding their ground against the efforts of Rep. Nancy Catamco and police elements to forcibly bring them out of their evacuation site in UCCP Haran. (Photo by Kidlat Pamukaw, text by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)

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

DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-SMR said that the DSWD and police investigation against support groups facilitating the evacuation of over 700 lumads in UCCP Haran should be directed instead to members of the police force operating under the orders of Rep. Nancy Catamco last July 23.

“Catamco made it clear that she was going to bring the IP’s back to their homes, whether they liked it or not. She even welcomed the idea of having to use force. Such is a manifestation of initial attempt to traffic the lumads out of Haran, when clearly such scenario is against their will,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.

“Agencies wanting to investigate the support groups are either dumb, or very dumb. Vice-Mayor Duterte’s intervention clearly showed that the lumads did not want to go home.”

“These agencies wanting to investigate the support groups are wasting taxpayers’ money in doing so. But then again, what can we expect from this government?” Suazo asked.

Suazo said that the DCPO and suspected intelligence agents under it were the “hands that did the dirty work” in the attempt to traffic lumads out of their evacuation site.

“Let us not delude ourselves. Footage of the incident clearly shows that the police hurt the evacuees who stood their ground, after an unidentified man cut off the locks of the gate in UCCP Haran. That was the first step to bringing the lumads out against their will,” Suazo added.

Suazo reiterated that some DSWD personnel have been to the evacuation camp only to do some surveys for reports that till now are unknown.

“Even few minutes before the violent dispersal last July 23, DSWD representatives were there for a dialogue. According even to the PNP, the order to disperse the camp was coming from DSWD,” she said.

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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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