DUTERTE IS IMPLEMENTING BRUTAL MILITARIZATIONS DISLOCATING CARAGA LUMAD TO FORCE THE ENTRY OF PLANTATIONS AND MINING IN OUR ANCESTRAL LANDS
The Lumad people under the Kahugpongan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon (KASALO) sa Caraga (Unity of Lumad Organizations in Caraga) strongly condemn the current brutal militarization of Lumad communities in the region. It is meant to force us to give up the riches of our ancestral lands to foreign and large mines, plantations, hydropower and other projects of the US-Duterte regime.
Ten (10) battalions or more or less 5,000 military troops are deployed in Caraga, aside from composite teams, and majority of these are in Lumad Manobo and Mamanwa communities. They wreak havoc in violating our human rights. In fact, in some communities, there are more military troops than residents!
President Rodrigo Duterte himself made clear the purpose of militarization. Last February 1, 2018, he told the Lumad who attended the Indigenous People’s Summit in Davao City that he will choose the investors in our ancestral lands, that we should prepare ourselves for relocation and that we should welcome the military into our homes. This is exactly what is happening now.
In Surigao del Sur, particularly in the Andap Valley Complex where five (5) coal mines (Benguet, Great Wall, Consolidated Ores, Abacus and PNOC Mining) are raring to start operations, almost 600 troops under the 36th IBPA, 75th IBPA, 88th IBPA and 16th Special Forces Battalion, 402nd IBde, 4ID of the Philippine Army are in 26 Lumad and peasant communities in the Andap Valley Complex covering the municipalities of San Miguel, Tago, San Agustin, Marihatag and Lianga. This resulted to the evacuation of 345 families with 1,628 individuals from 14 communities in January 28 until February 7, 2018.
In Surigao del Norte, there has been no let-up of military operations of the 30th IBPA troops in the mountains of Gigaquit, Sison and Surigao City targeted for the expansion and operation of large scale gold mining of Red 5-Greenstone Mining Corp., Manila Mining and Philex Mining
In Agusan del Norte, 100 troops from the 29th IBPA are operating in the mountains targeted by Sahi Coal Mining in Butuan City. This resulted to the evacuation of 115 farmers and Lumad of Sitio Patagon to Sitio Dugyaman, Brgy. Anticala, Butuan City last February 5. Meanwhile, 400 troops of the 29th IBPA along with other troops under the 4th ID from Cagayan de Oro, are in the mountain area of Ansili and Zapanta Valley in Kitcharao since February 2, where FirstGen Hydropower Corp. is constructing a hydropower plant. The area is also targeted for mining by Timberwolves and Empire Asia Coal Mining. This resulted to the evacuation of 41 settler and 59 Lumad-Mamanwa families with 278 individuals to the center of Zapanta Valley and Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao.
In Agusan del Sur that is the target for 200,000 hectares of Malaysian and Indonesian oil palm plantations, 26th IBPA, 23rd IBPA, 3rd Special Forces and in the Agusan-Surigao boundary, the 75th IBPA troops, are operating. This resulted to the killing last January 15, of Aaron Notarte, a farm worker in Brgy. Imelda, Bunawan by 75th IBPA troops.
These military operations have interrupted the classes of 677 Lumad Manobo and Mamanwa students of 8 schools and 20 students of adult literacy in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte.
The persecution of the Lumad must stop! We have been vocal in our opposition against the entry and continuing operation of destructive mines, plantations and hydropower in our ancestral lands since the past regimes. Is Duterte then lying when he said that if we do not want mining and plantations in our ancestral lands that he will not force us? Is his regime sowing in-fighting by recruiting Lumad paramilitaries and forcing the surrender of tribes so as to make it appear that we are consenting to the theft of our ancestral lands.
We have struggled to establish our livelihood while protecting our ancestral lands, built schools amid government neglect in providing education to the Lumad and we organized ourselves to develop our livelihood, but we are now being attacked. These attacks must stop!
Stop militarization in the country side! Defend ancestral lands! Respect our right to self-determination!
February 9, 2018
The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)