March 16, 2010 in Featured
By ALDWIN QUITASOL and BENZENT PUMAY-O
BAUKO, Mt Province — In a resolution passed during the Katribu partylist provincial convention held in Sagada, Mt. Province, March 11, the participants called for the pull-out of AFP troops from their communities and the removal of cannons from Kin-iway and “their return to where they came from.”
As the local elections is fast approaching, people affected by the military build-up especially in the northern barrios of Sagada fear that they cannot campaign freely and openly because of the presence of armed personnel of the AFP.
This is partly due to the fact that military personnel have been holding symposia in the province where progressive partylists like Katribu and other peoples organizations have been branded by the military as “enemies of the state.”
The resolution also called for the relevant government agencies to investigate allegations that the military has willfully started a fire in some parts of the mountain areas supposedly to flush out the rebels from their mountain hide-outs.
“The overall effect of the presence of the army in our communities is not peace, but fear and hunger, for people already fear going to their swidden farms, pastures, and even in simply hiking in the mountains,” the resolution added.
During the convention itself, intelligence operatives of the military were seen in and around the venue with some of them taking pictures of the participants surreptitiously. Task Force Montanosa head, Col Soliba himself was also seen mixing with the participants.
Despite all these forms of low-key intimidation, the convention ended successfully with participants drawing up plans for the on-going campaign for national candidates as well as the campaign for local candidates.
The Mt. Province provincial convention was the third held in the Cordillera region, after those in Tabuk, Kalinga and Bangued, Abra held earlier.
Some candidates for local positions graced the occasion to expresss their support for Katribu partylist whose first nominee, Ms Beverly Longid, hails from Sagada, Mt. Province. Among those who delivered their solidarity message were Atty. Leonard Mayaen of the NP who is running for governor and Tom Killip who is gunning for the lone congressional seat of Mt. Province as an independent candidate. Others included Glenn Manao, Boni Lacwasen and RB Talastas, all runing for the vice-gubernatorial seat.
Beverly Longid explained the brief history and rationale for setting up the Katribu partylist, while Manny Loste of the Makabayan Coalition expounded on the role of parliamentary struggle in the peoples’ movement for change. Chie Galvez of the Katribu secretariat explained how voting will be done under the automated election system.#nordis.net