By PAOLA ESPIRITU
SAN FERNANDO CITY — Residents of Sitio Dandanac in Brgy. Tambaoan, Mt. Province fear not only for their safety and lives but the worsening economic conditions midst the continuous military operations and encampments in their barrio.
Through a statement released online, the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front-Mountain Province (CPDF-MP) claims residents are deprived of their regular economic activities since the military’s encampment and implementation of a ‘defacto martial rule’ in the barrio.
In the same statement, Ka Dominic, a farmer leader testifies they have not attended to their lands for more than a month now, “It’s even the harvest season. I worry (of) what will happen to our crops now that it’s raining.”
In Dandanac, farming is the primary source of income with most of the 80 households tilling an average of a quarter of a hectare, according to CPDF-MP. An average of five cavans which amounts to some Php 9,450 is usually harvested from the piece of land. The produce will be consumed in 52 days. However, harvests will be reduced to one-third which will only last for 35 days if unforeseen calamity strikes like typhoon and pests.
To make ends meet, residents opt to work for “pordia” or in construction sites with a daily pay of Php 150- a salary way below the minimum wage. The P750 income they acquire for a week is only half of the daily cost of living of a family. But the current military presence further aggravates their condition. With the imposed curfew and required cedula when you get out of the barangay, workers are hindered to go by their daily economic activities to earn money.
Since July 13, the Alpha Coy of the 81st IBPA under the leadership of 1st Lt. Jade Lyzterdan Padinas Gavino together with the forces of the Regional Public Safety Batallion of the PNP have relentlessly conducted military operations and encampment in the barrio.
CPDF-MP condemns these human rights violations committed by the 81st IB. The encampment alone in residential areas violates the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). They assert the 81st IB harass civilians through trumped-up charges, warrantless search, and instituting curfew. Siblings Edmund and Saturnino Laus Dazon were harassed and illegally arrested on July 20, 2018, for instance. As long as the military stays in our community, our economic state will only worsen,” Ka Dominic added.
The revolutionary organization added the AFP uses the cancellation of peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines to justify its intensified operations. While the CPDF-MP expects Duterte regime’s increased attacks against the NPA and the revolutionary movement, they have confidence in the united stand of the Cordillera people to fight for their life, land, resources and national determination.
“In the series of losses in the hands of the red fighters of the NPA, the 81st IB and PNP will surely fail in their blind implementation of Duterte regime’s dictate to annihilate the revolutionary movement,” they stated. # nordis.net