By ALDWIN QUITASOL
MANKAYAN, Benguet — More than a thousand residents of this mining municipality, together with other indigenous peoples from nearby provinces and rights advocates stormed a military detachment of the 50th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army shouting for its pull out.Barely a month after an army captain Danilo Lalin of the 86th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was accused of raping two 16 year old girls of a barangay of the municipality, Mankayan residents call for the soldiers to remove their detachment and Lalin be brought to justice for what he did. They demand that justice for “Isabel” and “Katrina” (not their real names) and their families be served.
High School students Isabel and Katrina were both courted by Lalin. In the last part of February this year, Isabel was missing for three days. After returning home, Isabel’s sister noticed Isabel did not look well. After a series of questionings, Isabel told what really happened to her. In a medico-legal report, Isabel was believed to be raped by more than one man.
According to the grandmother of “Isabel”, the girls are in a state of depression. “Kaman maga’y serserbi na et nan apok gapu isnan inyat Lalin ken siya,” (it seems that my granddaughter is now useless because of what Lalin did to her.
She said that they thought the military was there to protect the civilians but they have inflicted fear and troubled the community.
She added that the soldiers did nothing but to break their unity in opposing destructive operations like he expansion project of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC).
Colalo Barangay Captain Ambino Padawi said that the soldiers did not respect the people of places wherever they go. He said that they were the ones who destroy family relations in their barangay and elsewhere.
“Agarem da kadagiti babbai iti komunidad mi uray dagiti naasawan ken dagiti ubbing, ken idi lang napalabas ket nirames da pay ti dua nga annak mi,” (They court the women in our community even those who are already married and the children, and recently, they raped two of our children) said Padawi.
Veron Malecdan of the Innabuyog Gabriela said that the case of Isabel and Katrina is not an isolated to the provinces of Cordillera.
She said that soldiers encamped in the communities especially where there are mining applications victimized innocent young girls.
She added that these soldiers are always on the alert hunting for prey. And when the soldiers commit crimes in one community, they were simply transferred given another assignment or place. She said there should be a pull out of all military detachments in the communities.
Isabel’s grandmother said that the case of her granddaughter and of “Katrina” is enough. She added that they do not want that another girl or women be raped again by the soldiers.
Aside from the removal of the detachment, the companions of Lalin believed to be among the military personel who gang raped Isabel, should all be charged and jailed. # nordis.net