By RHODA DALANG and BRENDA S. DACPANO
BAGUIO CITY — “Let us differentiate a criminal act from an act in the conduct of defending rights.” This was the message put forth by Representative Teddy Baguilat in reference to the “pangayaw” being waged by Blaans led by Daguil Capion against the Xstrata-Saguitarius Mining, Inc.Baguilat further elaborated similar practice in the Cordillera, i.e. Fetad in Kalinga, …. where an entire community arm themselves and get mobilized in defense againts those encroaching in their ancestral territory. In substance, acts of this kind are not synonymous to murder. The act is self-defense. This is what many Blaans believe. For the Blaans, Daguil is a hero. For the AFP and Xstrata-SMI, Daguil is a bandit.
Baguilat, representative of Ifugao and chair of the National Cultural Committee of the Lower House of Congress, conducted a legislative inquiry in Koronadal, South Cotabato on February 21 on the massacre of the family of Daguil Capion in October 18, 2012 in Tampakan, South Cotabato. Together with Baguilat in the inquiry were Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Luz Ilagan joined by Mindanao Representatives Manny Pacquiao and Nancy Catamco. The inquiry was hosted by the provincial government of South Cotabato.
The daughter of Daguil Capion who was wounded but survived the massacre recounted how upon hearing the first voulme of gunfire, she immediately sought cover beside her mother who was still lying in bed. “Tumabi ako kay Juvy (Juvy was the mother), nasugatan ang paa niya, sumisigaw siya ng ‘tama na’, … puro dugo…”
The gunfire ended with her two-month pregnant mother and her two brothers, all dead.
Daguil Capion was leading armed Blaans engaged in what they call “pangayaw” against Xstrata-SMI. Daguil was once a forest ranger under Western Mining, the mining firm that first mined in the area. It later sold its mining rights to Xstrata-SMI. Under Xstrata-SMI, Daguil was employed as a forest ranger. He led the “pangayaw” after Xstrata-SMI failed to comply with earlier agreements, the least of which was that SMI shall employ Blaans.
The Blaans are among the 18 indigenous peoples collectively referred to as Lumads in Mindanao. They are facing the mining operation of the Xstrata-SMI that was granted a Financial Technical Agreement (FTAA) to extract through open-pit mining, copper and gold in their ancestral territories. At the heart of the mine site sits the Bulol Lumol, the last remaining watershed area in the SoCSarGen region and is considered a sacred mountain by the Blaans.
In the said congressional inquiry, the Mayor of Kiblawan, Marivic Diamante, testified that Xstrata-SMI is providing a monthly subsidy to military and CAFGUs securing the Kiblawan-Tampakan-Colombio area (KITACO). A Task Force KITAKO was organized under the AFP as security force covering the entire area where Xstrata-SMI operates. According to Diamante, Xstrata-SMI is providing monthly subsidy to cover operational and gasoline expenses for each CAFGU in the anount of P2,500/month for each CAFGU over and above the P2,700 provided by the AFP. For the 60 CAFGUs being subsidized, total sybsidy amounts to P150,000/month. Another P7,500 monthly is being provided to 12 CAFGUs.
On the one hand, Col. Marcos Flores of the 1002 brigade testified another figure of a monthly allocation from Xstra-SMI in the amount of P9,000 for operations, P11,000 for gasoline and P5,000 for allowance being provided for CAFGU.
Meanwhile, Mayor Diamante, unfazed by the the testimony of the Daguil survivor and without remorse testified that she offered a P300,000 bounty for the capture of Daguil. The amount froms part of a P600,000 allocated budget by the LGU for intelligence.
The testimonies from the Mayor of Kiblawan and the AFP, came as a shock to delegates of DINTEG-Cordillera Indigenous Peoples Legal Center. It was distressing to hear how a mining firm is funding the LGU and AFP to secure its interest in the midst of an apparent armed opposition from affected Blaans.
DINTEG and KALUHHAMIN, the organization of Blaans in SOCSARGEN region, supported by KATRIBU partylist, recommended to the Baguilat Committee to conduct another legislative inquiry to look into Xstrata-SMI’ compliance to human rights statutes in relating with the Blaans.
Representative Manny Pacquiao, thoughtful of the impact on the Daguil family, asked the AFP “nandiyan na yan, may buntis at mga batang namatay, ano ang gagawin niyo?” Nothing substantial was heard of from the AFP.
DINTEG participated in the legislative inquiry as a manifestation of solidarity to the Blaans. Blaan is among the pilot areas of DINTEG in its project on capacity building among indigenous peoples on human rights-based approach to development. The project is being funded by the European Union. # nordis.net