“Kitang-kita sa kasong ito kung paano ginagamit ng estado ang Terror Law sa paglabag sa karapatan ng mga katutubo, at kung papaano sila mabilisang pinaratangang terorista. Patunay ito na mapanganib ang Anti-Terror Law, sapagkat ang magiging biktima lamang lagi ay ang pinakabulnerableng grupo na mga katutubo, lalo na yaong mga lumalaban para sa lupaing ninuno at karapatan para sa sariling pagpapasya.” — Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, Bayan Muna
Government soldiers forced an indigenous person to eat human feces during a military operation in San Marcelino, Zambales Province last August 21, groups reported.
The Umahon Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Umahon) and the Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination (Sandugo) said soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (76th IDPA) forced a certain Nalin Ramos to eat a soldier’s feces.
Ramos was among three Aeta residents, including relatives Witi Ramos and Jepoy Ramos, who were “physically assaulted, tortured and detained by the soldiers,” the groups said.
The three were also detained and hospitalized, Sandugo said. Upon their release, the three were too afraid to go home due to trauma and chose to stay at the evacuation center in Barangay Aglao in the said town.
“A total of 659 families evacuated due to repeated bombings of Aeta communities in Sitio Lumibao, San Marcelino,” Sandugo added.
Umahon said the soldiers wanted the Aeta community to evacuate their ancestral domain while they are pursuing suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas in the area.
Four Philippine Army helicopters reportedly dropped bombs in the community.
The Angelite, the student newspaper of the Holy Angel University, reported that according to a chieftain of the said community, the 7th IDPA wanted the Aetas to evacuate so they could clear the area.
Sandugo said the government troopers are liable under the anti-torture law for their “evil” and “inhumane” treatment of the Aetas.
“The acts of the 7th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines reeks of evilness. Their recent actions against our Aeta brothers and sisters are inhuman. It is pure evil, only demons would have the conscience to do this,” Sandugo said.
The group added the 7th ID’s bombardment of the IP community was meant to drive away the Aetas and pave the way for mining explorations by the Dizon Copper-Silver Mines, Inc.
The Aeta residents oppose the project to proted the environment and their ancestral lands, Sandugo said. Sandugo called on the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the incidents and demanded the soldiers’ pull out from the Aeta community. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
Eight Aetas died in the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that shook parts of Luzon last April 22 but have not been included in the government list of casualties, an indigenous people’s group said.
The Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA) said at least eight Aetas, including minors, died in landslides in Porac and Floridablanca towns in Pampanga province due to the earthquake.
The group did not name the reported victims.
An April 26 report by CNN Philippines, however, said one child was killed in Barangay Nabuclod in Floridablanca town while three others (8-year old Landok Serrano, his father Berto Serrano and grandfather Bidong Laya) went missing during the quake.
In a press conference in Angeles City this morning, the CLAA complained that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council did not look into the plight of the Aetas—the indigenous peoples group in Central Luzon.
“[T]he NDRRMC just recorded a total of 18 deaths. Of the reported 18 deaths, five missing person cases, 243 wounded, from the 3,632 affected families or about 7,410 individuals…few or even none of it includes the indigenous people and their communities,” the CLAA in its press statement said.
The CLAA added that the Aetas are the most vulnerable sector in the region and the last to recover from disasters.
The group also bewailed that the Aetas have limited access to state resources, such as quick response and rescue teams when disasters strike.
In the press conference held at the Angeles City Youth Center, the CLAA expressed fears that more deaths may have occurred but remain unreported, especially in farflung indigenous communities.
The group also blamed president Rodrigo Duterte government for his apparent apathy for dismissing the number of deaths as “the barest minimum.”
“I’m not trying to belittle the problem. To me, it’s just maybe a few towns hard hit. Thank God that we have the barest minimum of deaths,” the President said at a situation briefing in San Fernando City, Pampanga two days after the quake.
CLAA chairperson Sonny Serrano said that the severity of the disaster effect of the earthquake may be linked directly to anti-environment projects “along every inch of the entire length of the Zambales mountain range.”
“In the uplands of Floridablanca for example, exploration and earthmoving activities along the ridges of Mount Cuadrado may have caused the weakened soil of the residents of Brgy. Nabuclod and other hard hit barangays of Floridablanca,” Serrano said.
In Porac, the introduction of alien tree species by the government’s National Greening Program and the existence of many quarry operations as well land conversion to roads and subdivision may have worsened the effects of the Earthquake, he added.
The CLAA also denounced Duterte’s “criminal negligence” in perpetuating more intensive environmental plunder of the entire Zambales mountain range under his government’s Build Build Build program, that may have worsened the effects of the earthquake. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
ni Rene Boy Abiva
Kayong lagpas dekada nang binubusabos
piniga’t pinatiwatiwarik hanggang sa dumausdos
at malagutan ng buhay
at damputi’t itapon sa libingang tila bangin
ang bangis at lalim.
Lagpas dekada na rin pala
nang mapangahas n’yong tahakin
ang ipinagkait sa inyong mga tanawin,
ang lahat ng imaheng abot ng inyong paningin
kabilang ang dalumoy na lumalambitin
sa ngala-ngala ng papawirin.
Ah, lagpas dekada na rin pala
nang ang dating kinatatakutan n’yong mga pangitain
ay inyong naitaboy
nang sama-sama n’yo itong dinaluhong
sa gitna ng mga nagbabagang gabi.
At kayong lagpas dekadang dinusta
ng uring tuta ng Amerika,
bigkisin n’yo ang inyong paglilirip
at tibayan ang hanay
nang sa daluya’y inyong masilip
ang kasaysayang naghihintay
at kailangang masagip:
mapalaya ang lupa
at mundo sa kapital at makina.
October 5, 2015
Ifugao District Jail
Sitio Sandugo is what the national minority groups participating in Lakbayan 2017 call their camp at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
On most days and nights, the camp is a bevy of activities that include those who visit them such as students, artists, medical workshops and others.
Watch this slideshow of how Sitio Sandugo becomes a center of cultural activities.
(Photos by Raymund and Pom Villanueva)