This is how PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations react to President Duterte’s statement of going after progressive organizations as part of the government’s all-out war against the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Kerlan Fanagel, Chairperson of PASAKA which includes 338 Lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao Region, said the President’s pronouncement is alarming and dangerous to the thousands of Lumads in Mindanao.
“His pronouncement means is a go signal to continue military deployment and operations on the ground, and we Lumads and farmers are targets. Expect more Lumads to be displaced,” warned Fanagel.
PASAKA objects to Duterte’s statement as it discredits the Lumads’ struggle to protect their ancestral lands.
“We are raising legitimate concerns such as protection of our ancestral domain from mining and plantations, and our schools from militarizations. And this is how Duterte answers our demands, by threatening us as communist sympathizers? Said Fanagel.
Fanagel warned that more Lumad groups will reject Duterte for failing to deliver peace to Lumad communities safe as they see rapid deployment of military battalions and continuance of mining operations in Mindanao.
He noted the deployment of new battalions, the 56th IB and the 15th IB from Bicol Region, to the areas in Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, and Bukidnon.
“It’s shows that this government is no different from the past governments who launch counter-insurgency programs that target Lumad and peasant communities and schools. They will fail to silence the Lumads who are defending their culture and their ancestral domain from mining and plantations,” he added.
Fanagel warned that more displacements will worsen the peace situation in Mindanao, but will cost Duterte isolation and condemnation from the Lumads.
There are already more than a hundred Manobo bakwets in UCCP Haran who have stayed for four years because of paramilitary and military harassments in their communities in Talaingod and Kapalong. Last year, a Talaingod student was killed by the paramilitary Alamara.
PASAKA noted that attacks on Lumads continue under the Duterte regime, where 34 Lumads in Mindanao are recorded among the 112 politically-related killings since 2016.
Recently, a Lumad in Arakan, Ricky Olado, 30, a member of the Tinananon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa (TIKULPA) was killed on January 28. While a Subanen leader, Timuay Alberto Andes in Zamboanga del Norte was “arrested” by the paramilitary.
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