“More than a week has passed since the Manilakbayan contingent arrived in Metro Manila yet BS Aquino chose to remain mum on the demands of the Mindanaoans and has instead, resorted to military attacks in the communities where the Manilakbayan contingent came from,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
As the Manilakbayan contingent was on its way to Metro Manila, on-going military operations that included bombings have resulted in the evacuation of indigenous peoples in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur and in three villages in Claveria town, Misamis Oriental.
On November 17, Manilakbayan ng Mindanao reported some 300 indigenous people fled their homes “due to artillery bombardments of their community.”
Earlier, residents of the populated village of Sta. Monica and Sitio Kiatsan, Brgy. Bunawan Brook decided to leave their homes on November 11, the after soldiers freely and arbitrarily fired their guns for several days.
Also in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur brothers Philims and Philip Poloyapoy are still missing since November 1. Their brother Filjohn was found dead on November 3. The three were arrested by elements of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) while conducting combat operations on November 1 at Purok 13,Bagong Silang, Brgy. Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur.
“BS Aquino is wrong in thinking that he can ignore the cries of the Mindanaons who are in Metro Manila by harassing the people and bombing their communities in Mindanao. Ang mamamayan ang maghuhusga. The Filipino people will ultimately judge him and the crimes of his regime,” Palabay added.
Today is the fifth day since the Manilakbayan, in a ritual, posted kodaw with five knots at the Freedom gate at Mendiola. The kodaw is the Lumad’s way of sending messages. Through it, the Mindanaoans have sent their demands to BS Aquino. The five knots signify the number of days the Manilakbayan contingent gave to Aquino to respond to their call for food and peace, the pull-out of the 55 AFP combat battalions in Mindanao, and an end to Oplan Bayanihan.
“BS Aquino may ignore the five-days in the kudaw but that only bears out his irrelevance to the Filipino people,” ended Palabay.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK