On February 18, 2015, 350 lumad people and farmers from militarized communities in Caraga arrived in Butuan for the “KAMPOHAN SA BUTUAN” at the Butuan City Sports Complex in Libertad, Butuan City. Led by Kasalo, Kilusan ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Bayan in Caraga, [the group set out to] demand to “Defend our community! Dismantle and dis-arm the armed paramilitary of the butcher EastMin Com!”
The more than 350 people represents the thousands of victims of the US-Aquino regime’s anti-insurgency campaign Oplan Bayanihan implemented by the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (EastMinCom-AFP) in Caraga Region. OpBay has deployed 9 full battalions of the AFP in Caraga, has organized and armed paramilitary forces such as the Bagani, Maggahat, Lubog and Alsa Masa to attack fellow lumad people, launched Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) and cyclic military operations in the mountains, persecuting the people. As what has been happening in the entire island of Mindanao, OpBay is mainly launched in areas targeted or have operating large scale mining, plantations and hydropower projects.
Since 2012, under the US-Aquino regime, more or less 10,000 people have been dislocated from their livelihood from not less than 50 communities in 4 provinces in the Caraga region. There has already been 10 evacuations since the previous year of 2014 until the first months of 2015, victimizing 1,165 lumad and peasant families or 5,172 individuals. At present 413 families with 1,652 individuals are still in the evacuation centers in Bunawan, Bayugan and San Luis in Agusan del Sur, while 122 families or 591 individuals that evacuated in Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur since October 2014 had recently been able to return home. They evacuated because of the killings of their leaders, harassments, their communities turned into garrisons and cyclic military operations of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 4th Scout Ranger Battalion, 75th and 26th IB PA.
The Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) led by Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad was the first to declare war against the revolutionary movement in his area of responsibility which covers the Caraga region. It has been targeting lumad communities where the people have established lumad schools, large and productive farms for food, organized economic systems and where the people struggled for and have established legal democratic organizations. Communities with these characteristics are accused of being “influenced” or “led” by the New People’s Army or revolutionary movement.
Ten (10) lumad and peasant leaders were killed during the AFPs military operations in 2014 until February 10, 2015. Paramilitary groups accompanying the military troops committed cold blooded killings and other crimes against the people. The group of Calpet Egua, Marcos Bocales who call themselves ‘Bagani’ or ‘Magahat’ and the ‘Maggahat’ group of Mario Napungahan are mainly armed by the AFP to commit harassments in the mountains. Included among these groups are Eddie “Komander Bawang” Ampiawan and Benhur Mansulonay’s armed groups turned CAFGU. The victims of these gross violations of human rights are residents of areas targeted or have operating large scale mines, banana or oil palm plantations, where mass organizations are actively demanding their rights to livelihood.
Not content with the killings, 124 leaders of MAPASU, TAGDUMAHAN and KASALO-Caraga; leaders and active members of UMAN, KAMASS of KMP-Caraga have been filed trumped up cases. Forty three (43) of these were cases filed last 2014 and includes lumad leaders Jalandoni Campos, MAPASU chairperson and Genasque Enriquez, Secretary General of KASALO Caraga.
If not exposed these cases of human rights violations will intensify as the fascist US-Aquino regime attempts to open Caraga region to plunder by the large scale and foreign mining, plantations and hydropower projects.
We need to unite to put an end to the brutal actions of BS Aquino and his armed forces led by the East Min Com and armed paramilitary!
Stop instigating infighting among the lumad people! Dismantle the paramilitary groups!
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