On the 10th ID-Phil Army’s Alsa Lumad Campaign

December 03, 2012

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The 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command AFP has instigated Matigsalog tribal chieftains Datu Balaw Esdang and Datu Trecio in a blatant attempt to resurrect the notorious paramilitary Alsa Lumad in Paquibato and Marilog districts, Davao City. Both Datus peddled the outrageous lie that they were harassed, threatened to be killed by Ka Parago and the New People’s Army’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company, thus forcing them to flee from sitio Alon and Km 23 in Brgy. Malabog in Paquibato district.

[Audio clip] There is no truth, not an iota of reality in these ridiculous pronouncements. The Matigsalog tribe in Malabog are fully aware of the 10th ID’s fascist military operations and the reactionary government’s apparent neglect in the face of extreme poverty, oppression and hunger. The tribe has also not forgotten how its members suffered when they were coerced to rise up against the NPA during the time of Task Force Davao chief B/Gen. Eduardo Del Rosario and opportunist Lumad leader Datu Ruben Labawan. Today, Matigsalog Lumads in Malabog are victims of discrimination and deprivation of the essential means for livelihood. They were deprived of precious help when their farms were hit with rat infestation; they are now prevented from going to their farms as soldiers have encamped in their villages. In times when soldiers consent to their movement, Lumads are told to return home by 3 pm.

The datus in Alon,Malabog were also victims of food blockade, as their foodstuffs are held and confiscated at the military’s checkpoint. Even Datu Balaw Esdang himself was a victim of this food blockade when his one sack of rice that was intended for the sitio foundation day was confiscated by the military.

The 69th IB soldiers have forcibly recruited Lumads to become Alamara or Blackfighter bandits; to refuse the military would automatically make them enemies or supporters of the New People’s Army. The notorious Lumad bandit Nonoy Dagsil thrice went to Datu Balaw Esdang and Datu Trecio to force them to rise up against the NPA. This, even though Datu Balaw Esdang himself and his family was a victim of the military’s atrocity. His brother Ramirez Esdang, a hemp farmer but suspected as an NPA, was mercilessly shot to death by the 69th IB soldiers. The Esdang family was only able to get Ramirez’ decomposing body three days after the cold-blooded murder, through the help of the NPA.

The Matigsalog tribe in km 23 and Alon is aware of how the NPA fairly treats them, knows the NPA’s sincerity in defending the ancestral domain and in fighting against landgrabbing of big mining companies. Ka Parago and the NPA have given conditional pardon towards leaders of Alsa Lumad who were forcibly recruited to Alamara by Gen. del Rosario. The NPA has also led various social services in the area to provide immediate relief to the hunger and poverty of the people. Ka Parago and 1st Pulang Bagani Company of the NPA have ensured that Red fighters are not encamped among the communities so as not to imperil the lives of civilians.

Contrary to the manufactured script of the 10th ID AFP that the NPA is driving away Lumads in Malabog, Ka Parago and the NPA serve the people sincerely. The false notions peddled by the 10th ID are meant to conceal the banditry and abusive counter-revolutionary operations of the military. The 10th ID is using the treacherous, bandit and fugitive criminal Nonoy Dagsil, a notorious Alamara warrior who had no qualms in killing members of his own tribe in the name of counter-revolution. He was responsible for the massacre of Bughaw family in brgy Lumiad, Paquibato and in Brgy Mapula in the 1980s; massacre of Filemon family and that of Trining Quirante in 2005, the murder of one Pecio Beron in Brgy. Mapula, and that of other crimes involving Lumads. Thus, the warmongering among Lumads can only come from the warmongers themselves, the military and with the use of able Lumad agents like Nonoy Dagsil.

It is apparent that the wrong and deceitful accusations against Ka Parago and the NPA, ultimately serves the objective of the 10th ID, and that it is to justify its intensive military operations, and warrant its continued encampment and the stay of its detachments in civilian villages despite widespread people’s opposition. The military operation is part of the Investment Defense Force of the AFP, an apparatus that protects the entry of mining firms like MRC Allied which plans to operate gold and copper extraction in some 8,475 hectares in Paquibato and Marilog districts.

Davao city mayor and 22nd Ready Reserve Infantry Division 1st battallion commander Lt. Col. Sara Duterte is a staunch champion of military detachments among civilian communities, an indication of her militarist character. When the Matigsalog tribe went to the city to ask for assistance after they were badly hit by rat infestation, the mayor dismissed them because they were allegedly not affected by the calamity. When the Lumads deplored their economic difficulties, the mayor told them to go to the 10th ID-Phil. Army. Sara Duterte’s support to military detachments cover-up the blatant neglect of the local reactionary government towards the Lumad Matigsalogs. Just like the 10th ID, Sara Duterte has coddled fascists and kept under her payroll in the bureaucracy the likes of Ruben Labawan, an organizer of armed paramilitary Lumads in the Bahani Long Range Platoon and Lumad special operations group that were responsible for the spate of human rights abuses.

The Lumad Matigsalogs are suffering from extreme penury, hunger, lack of basic services like doctors for their hospital and farm to market roads. The Lumads are certainly not suffering from the presence of NPAs in their area. Schoolchildren can barely finish their daily studies because of hunger; they had to help in alleviating their family’s dire condition.

Thus, the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command refutes the false accusations against Ka Parago and the NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company because it is serious and committed in serving the people and defending the ancestral lands of the Matigsalog tribe in Malabog, Paquibato district, Davao City.