Nagbigay pahayag si Joselyn Martinez, tagapangulo ng ACT Philippines, kaugnay sa tangkang pagpaslang sa kasapi ng ACT Region 10 na si teacher Zhaydee Cabañelez noong Oktubre 15 sa Valencia City Bukidnon.
By Davao Today
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A Lumad woman leader is the 14th victim of extrajudicial killings against indigenous peoples defender in the province of Bukidnon.
The Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization reported that Bai Leah Tumbalang, 45, a Tigwahanon leader from San Fernando town of Bukidnon, was gunned down last Friday, Aug. 23 in Valencia City by riding in tandem gunmen suspected to be military agents.
According to the report, a witness claimed that two men riding a motorcycle was seen tailing the victim before she was shot in her forehead, causing her immediate death.
Kalumbay identified Tumbalang, mother of seven, as an active member of Kaugalingong Sistema Igpapasindog Tu Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO), a local Lumad and peasant organization in Bukidnon. She is also an organizer of Bayan Muna.
Tumbalang was reported to have received a death threats prior to her death.
Since 2011, Tumbalang and other KASILO members have been receiving threats to their lives as they lead the opposition against the deployment of paramilitary groups believed to be backed by mining interest in their communities.
Former KASILO secretary general Jimmy Liguyon was shot to death in that year by suspected paramilitary members after defending the ancestral domain from an expansion of a plantation project.
Kalumbay condemned the death of Tumbalang, whom they said is the 14th victim of summary killings of rights advocates in the province this year alone.
On August 12, Jeffrey Bayot, a KASILO member was also gunned down by motorcycle-riding men.
A former station manager of a Bukidnon radio station frustrated attempts by government soldiers to bring her to their military camp without a warrant.
Members of the 1st Special Forces Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines harassed former Radyo Lumad station manager Kristin Lim since Saturday, August 3, and even engaged village leaders to convince her to give herself up, to no avail.
Soldiers on board a military truck arrived at Lim’s home in Damilag, Bukidnon at 8:30 Saturday night and “invited” her to their camp for “questioning.” They were led by a 1st Lieutenant Baquial.
Lim refused after Baquial failed to present a warrant of arrest or a “valid and clear reason,” the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) said in an alert.
The troopers, however, were back early Sunday morning, insisting that Lim surrender herself.
The RMP-NMR said the soldiers were using the same tactic they used in the so-called capture of civilians Gloria Jandayan and Gleceria Balangiao who were later presented by the battalion as fake New People’s Army surrenderees.
The soldiers later asked members of barangays council to help convince Lim to be “summoned” to the military camp because of “her knowledge of the Left.”
Lim still refused, the RMP-NMR reported, agreeing to a dialogue only in the presence of a legal counsel.
RMP-NMR added that Barangay chairperson Jun Torres eventually agreed with Lim and in turn told the soldiers that they can summon her at the village hall as long as her safety is assured.
Other members of the council and the homeowners’ association also demanded that soldiers stop visiting their village on board military trucks as “the soldiers make it look like they are pursuing a dangerous criminal or terrorist.”
Lim was hired as Radyo Lumad station manager in July 2018 until its temporary closure in January this year “due to threats and harassments.”
Radyo Lumad was located in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, a community radio station focused on reporting on indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare.
The radio station was part of RMP-NMR’s Healing the Hurt Project with the European Union and the World Association for Christian Communication.
(Disclosure: Kodao Productions was hired as training partner of the Radyo Lumad Project.)
Lim said the radio station decided to temporarily close due to persistent threats and harassments against its staff.
Earlier this year, Lim was among those red-tagged in flyers distributed in Cagayan de Oro City along with lawyers, journalists, church workers, indigenous peoples’ leaders and activists. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A Lumad leader and a farmer-activist were gunned down in separate incidents in the province of Bukidnon.
On July 8, Datu Mario Agsab was shot dead in his home at Sitio Mainaga, Brgy. Iba, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon at around 7am by suspected members of paramilitary group Alamara and CAFGU members under the 8th Infantry Batallion.
According to Karapatan-Bukidnon, Agsab was an active leader of PIGYAYUNGA-AN, a local chapter of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.
Two days earlier, the group also reported a similar shooting incident which targeted a member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Karapatan said that farmer Joel Anino was shot in his home in San Fernando town, Bukidnon by unidentified gunmen around 6:30am last July 6. He later died at the Malaybalay General Hospital.
Anino is the second member of KASAMA-Bukidnon killed this year.
Last June 16, 57-year-old farmer Liovigildo “Nonoy” Palma, also a member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, was killed by three suspects riding a single motorcycle just right outside his house at Barangay Halapitan, Sitio Malambago, San Fernando.
Datu Wilson Anglao Jr., secretary general of Karapatan-Bukidnon, condemned the growing number of killings in the province.
The group has already documented nine incidents of extrajudicial killings in Bukidnon in the middle of 2019.
Anglao attributed these killings to the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, which is expected to last until the end of this year.
“The [State] wants to silence anyone – especially the farmers here in Bukidnon – who is strongly calling for genuine agrarian reform in the country,” Anglao said.
Anglao said that they will bring these cases to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region 10 to urge them to look into the human rights situation in the province. #
MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon—Instead of being given rice, hungry Tigwahanon Manobos have been threatened with massacre should they push through with their planned camp out in front of San Fernando, Bukidnon’s town hall.
“Huwag mong gawin sa akin iyan. Alam mo namang wala nang peace talks. Baka ma-massacre pa kayo,” San Fernando Mayor Levi Edma Sr. reportedly told the complaining Lumad. (Do not do that to me. You know the peace talks have been terminated. You might get massacred.)
Tigwahanon Manobo tribal chieftain Jimboy Mandagit said they met Edma last February 8 at the latter’s office to inquire about the food assistance sent them by the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) last September.
Mandagit said they have been hungry since they returned to Sitio Tibugawan, Barangay Cawayan, San Fernando from their evacuation camp in Malaybalay City last December 12.
Mandagit and his tribe evacuated to the capital grounds last July 29 after a traditional wedding ceremony in their community was attacked by the paramilitary New Indigenous People’s Army (NIPAr) led by the fugitive Alde “Butsoy” Salusad killing a pregnant woman.
“The rice given us when we returned to our community has run out and we are really hard up. We need three more months before we could harvest what we planted since we returned,” Mandagit said.
Of the more than 200 sacks of rice and other food items sent to them by DSWD secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Edma only gave them 37 sacks of rice and distributed the rest to San Fernando’s 24 barangays, the chieftain said.
Mayor Edma reportedly refused to give them more rice unless the Manobos could present a signed authorization from President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mandagit said the mayor instead gave 52 families the sum of PhP14,000.00 for them to buy equipment to clear their once-abandoned farms.
“I told the mayor that what we need is the more than 200 sacks of rice and other food items sent for us by secretary Taguiwalo,” Mandagit said.
When Mandagit said they might set up camp in front of the mayor’s office to convince him to give them the rice, the mayor then reportedly issued the threat.
“When he mentioned the massacre, I felt he was threatening us with another attack by Butchoy’s NIPAr,” Mandagit said.
“I was angry at the mayor’s heartlessness. We only wanted to show him how desperate we are so that if we die of hunger in front of the municipal hall, at least he would know,” Mandagit said.
Mayor Edma was unavailable for comment as he was visiting the town’s rural health unit, his office assistant told Kodao.
Meanwhile, Taguiwalo said he would first inquire with DSWD’s Region 10 office before issuing a statement. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)