Quezon City – Anakpawis Party-list today joined around 70 delegates of Lumads which are presently encamped in front of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) central office in Quezon City, demanding for a comprehensive, sustainable rehabilitation and rebuilding of Lumad communities affected by militarization in the Southern Mindanao Region.
“Even before President Duterte’s pronouncement to ‘flatten the hills’ as counter-insurgency measures, human rights violations was already a pandemic in the Southern Mindanao Region,” Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao who hails from Davao City and a long-time advocate of Lumad rights before becoming a representative for Anakpawis.
According to Kerlan Fanagel, Chairperson of Pasaka, the Confederation of Lumad organization in Southern Mindanao region, to date, there are already 24 Lumad victims of extra judicial killings, these includes three couples and five women perpetrated by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines deployed in the region.
Anakpawis with the Makabayan bloc also filed House Resolution No. 906 urging a house probe on the massive militarization and human rights abuses in Mindanao, especially the bombing operations on Lumad communities by the AFP. Some cases are:
• on July 7 to 8, 2016, the 67th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) dropped 12 to 18 bombs in Brgy. Pichon, Caraga, Davao Oriental endangering the lives of 11,500 individuals;
• on August 7, the 69th and 71st IBPA launched 6 aerial bombing in Barangay Parasanon, Maragusan, Compostela Valley destroying farms, forced 80 farmer families to evacuate, with reports of food blockade, hamletting and harassments;
• on February 15, 2017, at least 6 aerial bombs were dropped by 73rd IBPA in Sitio Tangis and Sitio Salutan, Barangay Datal Anggas, Alabel, Saranggani province that caused at least 100 Lumad families to evacuate and arrested 8 civilians as as guides in their operation;
• on March 11, 2017, the 46th IBPA dropped at least 10 bombs and used machine guns in firing upon on communities of 200 families, who also complained of looting by elements of military in Barangay Cabuyoan, Mabini, Compostela Valley.
“That is why Lumads and other national minorities staged various activities in the Manila to expose these continuing atrocities of state forces against the Lumad and activists who are pushing for genuine social change. We hold the the ‘rightists’ in the Duterte government primarily responsible, particularly Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief Eduardo Año, who are executing the counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan,” Casilao said.
Casilao is also pressing for the implementation of the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed by the government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines. CARHRIHL majorly protects the basic rights of civilians or non-combatants amid the armed confrontation of the AFP and NPA forces.
“With the joint agreement for the interim ceasefire signed by the GRP and NDFP panel during the fourth round, the AFP should be held accountable for its past and on-going violations, especially the occupation of farmer and Lumad communities, which actually undermines the pursuit for a just and lasting peace in the country,” Casilao ended. ###