Letters: Why is Sitio Dibilisawan, a small far away village, contentious?


Sitio Dibilisawan is a small village of not more than 30 households. It is part of a barangay called Sta Isabel located in a 1st Class municipality of Jones in the province of Isabela. The people here are farmers, they plant high yielding varieties of yellow corn twice or three times a year. Time and development seem to have stopped in this community. In the age of hybrid cars, farmers use carabaos in this community. Carabaos are used for farming and as means of transportation.

The people here live on basics, deprived of good education, disadvantaged from agricultural capital and have nil access to health services.

Last August 31, 2018 a group, a Field Visit Team was prevented by military personnel to go to this area. According to them, there is an on-going military operation. A military combat operation in a poor village of less than 30 houses? What life-changing matter can such combat operation bring about to the people of Sitio Dibilisawan.

And again, last weekend (Oct 6, 2018) a group of doctors, nurses and medical volunteers managed to reach the contentious village of Dibilisawan only to find military elements in plain clothes, dressed as farmers, were all over the community. Stationed in the houses of farmers, they watched every move of the Mercy Medical Mission team. Military literary cordoned-off the area, preventing neighboring villages to access very needed medical services. A woman from a nearby village that managed to come down said most of her barriomates want to come and seek medical attention, but they are afraid because there are many military (soldiers) in Dibilisawan.

One can feel fear crawling under ones skin when moving around to talk to village people. Their eyes move from left to right before managing a smile.
What stories do the people have to tell in Sitio Dibilisawan that the military wants to remain untold? Why use the power of the state to silence a small simple poor village? Is this Oplan Kapayapaan? # nodis.net


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