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ilagan denounces red baiting, EJK, harassment, oplan bayanihan to boost mining despite community, lumad protests
Press Release Posted on May 8th, 2012.
Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, 0920-9213221
Jang Monte, 0917-4049119
“President Aquino’s Armed Forces has become a private army for mining firms and its anti-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bayanihan, a terror crusade against indigenous communities and activists opposing the destruction of ancestral domain and the plunder of natural resources.”
Thus said militant Mindanaoan solon Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party expressed today her support for Benedictine nun and Panalipdan Mindanao Secretary General Sr. Stella Matutina following the filing of complaints against elements of the 28th and 67th Infantry Battalions who reportedly tagged her as a member of the New People’s Army.
Matutina, a staunch anti-mining advocate fears she will suffer the same fate as fellow activist and Italian priest Fr. Pops Tentorio. Matutina claims that 1Lt. Hermie Montelibano of the 28th IB in Lantawan, Lupon Davao Oriental alluded to her as a member of the NPA and even likened her to Fr. Tentorio during a barangay assembly.
“This obviously was a tactic to harass Sr. Stella and scare community leaders and individuals from pushing further their resistance to large scale destructive mining in their areas,” said Ilagan.
The Gabriela solon further said that aside from red baiting, the AFP has also resorted to massive harassment, indiscriminate firing and bombings prompting hundreds of lumad families to evacuate.
Likewise, Fred Trangia, an environmental activist and a member of the barangay council in Bgy. Mainit, Nabunturan Compostela Valley was shot dead by unidentified gunmen last May 6. KARAPATAN-Southern Mindanao also reports that on May 7, 2012, at least 80 families from Sitio 33, Bgy New Visayas, Trento, Agusan del Sur as the 25th IBPA conducted heavy military operations and bombed the community. The military has since imposed blockades and 20 more families have been prevented by the military from leaving the area.
In the first quarter of this year alone, at least 125 families from various Mamanwa communities in the adjacent barangays of Ombong, Alegria in Surigao del Norte and Bangayan, Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte were forced to evacuate. Among the evacuees are 53 children all 6 years old and below and 52 women, nine of whom are pregnant. Children have since stopped going to school and families have been prevented from returning to their farms, losing crops, farm animals and their livelihood in the process.
“Oplan Bayanihan is wreaking terror and destruction among lumads, driving them away from ancestral lands and in effect leaving the mineral-rich resources of Mindanao in the hands of large scale mining and logging firms. We call for an end to Oplan Bayanihan and the immediate pull-out of troops in all indigenous communities.”