By KATRIBU (PR)
MANILA — Katribu joined Indigenous peoples from Ifugao and Lianga, Surigao del Sur as they filed complaints of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on May 10.
This was while the Philippines is going through the process of United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review and an expert on refugees, Mr. William O’Neil is scheduled to visit the Joint Monitoring Committee of the GRP-NDFP for the implementation of the CARHRIHL.
“The AFP’s All Out War and counter-insurgency policy Oplan Kapayapaan should stop. Communities of indigenous peoples or national minorities are getting bombed. Families are forced to evacuate and leave their homes and fields to escape the wrath of the AFP troops,” Kakay Tolentino, a Dumagat leader of Katribu said.
“AFP’s Northern Luzon Command intensified military operations resulted to a week long of forced evacuation in Namal, Ifugao,”Tolentino said.
Soldiers of the 54th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) asked people of Namal point blank, “Apay nu suldado ket mabutteng kayo, nu NPA ket saan? (Why do you fear soldiers and not the NPA?) Two residents responded, “Haan met nga ipatpatturong ti NPA kenyami ti paltog da kas aramid yo.” (The NPA do not point their guns at us unlike you soldiers do.)
Farmers of Namal were preparing the rice seedlings for transplanting when they were forced to evacuate. They fear that a week’s delay will result a 40% reduction of their harvest. “They barely have enough to feed their community. Now, they will have to face further hunger,”Tolentino said.
Mostly Lumad, residents of Brgy. Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte were forced to leave behind their livestocks and vegetables on March 15 because of the 29 IBPA’s bombings in their community. The next day, some of the evacuees decided to return to their homes to feed and look after the livestock. The soldiers fired their canyon three times from their position in Camp Edward at the center of Kitcharao, aimed at the surrounding areas of Brgy. Hinimbangan. The evacuees who wanted to return decided turn back for fear of their lives as the gunshots continue.
“It is such a shame that while peace negotiations are on-going between the NDFP and the Duterte government tackling socioeconomic reforms, indigenous peoples could not even tend to their fields. How can we participate in the drafting the reforms that we need as national minorities if we are running for their lives?” Tolentino said.
“Our future becomes even more bleak with the recent appointment of Gloria Arroyo’s general Roy Cimatu as environment secretary. AFP’s all out war now comes with all out mining. Ancestral lands of national minorities will further be militarized to more incursion of large scale mining. We fear that more terror in Lumad communities are to come.
Katribu called on the Duterte government to pull out AFP troops in indigenous peoples’ communities. # nordis.net