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    Katungod Lumad Alert: 17 Banwaon harassed and intimidated

    Binicalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur — 17 members of the Banwaon indigenous group, including three minors, were reportedly harassed and intimidated in Sitio Kimambucayan on October 5, 2015.

    At around 6:00 that morning, three minors living[i] in the Sitio left their house to gather and haul logs. On the way, they noticed an armed man tailing them. Suddenly, a man in camouflage uniform stepped in their path, pointed his rifle at them, and ordered them to lie on the ground.

    Fifteen other armed men then stepped out from behind bushes and trees. According to Lolong (not his real name), the men were wearing badges of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the number 23 on the badge. The military unit operating in the area is the 23rd Infantry Battalion.

    They were brought to a place away from the trail. The suspected military men kept asking them of the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA). A member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) they identified as Mama Manpinsahan told them, “Kun itug-an ninyo asa ang mga NPA buhian namo mo, kun dili kuyugon namo mo sa operation.(If you will tell us where the NPAs are, we will set you free, if not, we will bring you along in our operations.)”

    The three were also accused of being NPA supporters and were assigned names: ‘Abe’, ‘Caloy’, and ‘Baking’. They were told that these were their names as NPA supporters. They were also asked of a certain Kay, allegedly a member of the NPA. They replied that they didn’t know a person by that name. But an armed man they did not recognize insisted, “It’s impossible, you should know this person because you’ve been living here.”

    While they were interrogated, 14 other Lumads who happened to pass by were also detained. The same questions were asked of them.

    At around 11:30am, the military men were having lunch when suddenly a gunshot rang out. They immediately lay face down. With the military men’s attention directed elsewhere, the Lumads took the opportunity to escape.

    The Banwaon in San Luis are members of Tagdumahan, an indigenous people’s organization in Agusan del Sur. The main objective of the organization is the protection of their ancestral domain, resisting the entry of extractive companies that would destroy their environment. Members of Tagdumahan have complained of the military operations in their community since September last year.

    EXPRESS YOUR CONCERN to the Philippine Government by writing to:

    H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III
    President of the Republic of the Philippines

    Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
    E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

    Hon. Leila M. de Lima
    Secretary, Department of Justice
    Tel: 523-8481 (loc. 211/214 ), 521-1908
    Fax: 524-5936
    Email: info@doj.gov.ph

    Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
    Secretary, Department of National Defense  

    Voice:+63(2) 911-6193,
    Fax:+63(2) 911-6213

    Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
    Chairperson, Commission On Human Rights

    Telefax: 929-0102, 928-5655, 926-6188

    Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
    Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples

    Tel: 373-97-87
    Email: chairpersonsoffice@gmail.com

    Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III
    Chair, Justice and Human Rights Committee
    Philippine Senate

    Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 70 loc. 5548
    Direct Lines: (632) 822-9758
    Fax No.: (632) 822-9759
    Email: kokopimenteloffice@yahoo.com

    Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr.
    Chair, Human Rights Committee
    House of Representatives

    Tel: (632) 931-5001; local 7051, 9518974

    Hon. Democrito O.  Plaza
    Governor, Province of Agusan del Sur

    Tel. : (085) 343-7144 / 343-7136; 343-3750/ 343-3751
    Fax : (085) 343-7369 / 242-3801
    E-mail: mail@agusandelsur.gov.ph

    Hon. Ronaldo Y. Corvera
    Mayor, Municipality of San Luis

    Municipal Hall, San Luis, Agusan del Sur
    Tel.: 0916-5569870

    Copy furnish your letters to info@rmp-nmr.org

    For more information, contact us at:
    Higala sa Lumad Network
    Room 01, Kalinaw Lanao Center for Interfaith Resources
    0016 Bougainvilla Puti, Villaverde
    9200 Iligan City, Philippines
    T/F: +63 (63) 223 5179
    E: info@rmp-nmr.org

    Katungod Lumad Alert is published by the ‘Higala sa Lumad’ [Friends of the Lumad] Network.

    ‘Higala sa Lumad’ Network is a support group composed of a broad range of interfaith personalities/representative of organizations synergizing relevant capacities and resources for Lumad communities under attack. ‘Higala’ also serves as an informal monitoring network for Lumad human rights. ‘Higala’ has been established as a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project.

    Published with support from the European Commission.

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