Kerlan Fanagel, PASAKA Secretary General, is now in Mati City , Davao Oriental together with the more than 100 evacuees and human rights violations victims from Baganga and Cateel towns.
Fanagel said most of the victims of forcible displacement wrought by the heightened militarization in the countrysides are lumads. He expressed alarm at the widespread tragedy affecting lumad communities.
“This is a vicious cycle affecting lumad communities all over Mindanao . After Talaingod, now it’s Davao Oriental, home to the Mandaya lumads. The LGU plays an important role in protecting their constituents but like what happened in Talaingod, the provincial government in Davao Oriental and the military are denying the forcible evacuation,” Fanagel said.
“Despite all the atrocities happening in their communities and the human rights abuses the lumads suffer, instead of getting help, their demands were just being dismissed and they were simply tagged as liars,” Fanagel added.
PASAKA said that the LGU is using the absence of “physical evacuation centers” to deny the evacuation.
He said most of the evacuees in Davao Oriental sought refuge in their relatives’ homes while in the case of Talaingod, the lumads felt safer to hide in the forests and risked getting starved than to approach their local government leaders.
Meanwhile, Ludinio Monzon, a Mandaya leader in Boston said he greatly suspects that the military operations in Boston is due to the combined initiatives of mining company and military to quell the local resistance against mining in Boston.
The Road 5 M Gold Project – Boston Mineral Mining Corp/Omega Gold Mining Company in Boston , Davao Oriental covers 338 hectares.
Last December (2007), the people of Boston, composed of more than 100 Mandaya lumads and farmers barricaded the Omega Gold Mining company and drilling sites to manifest their protest against the mining operations in their lands.
PASAKA said this and the Pujada Nickel Project of BHP Billiton in Mati, San Isidro & Gov. Generoso, Davao Oriental (11, 799 has) are both under the 10-Point Legacy Project of President GMA.
PASAKA also attributed the military operations in Talaingod to the mining applications in the Ata-Manobo ancestral lands. He noted Mt. Apo Mining and MC Welt represented by Victor Ang and Joaquin Ang to be the companies with mining interests in conflict-torn Talaingod.
"We reiterate the call for the immediate pull out of military troops from Davao Oriental towns, from Talaingod and all other militarized communities. We decry the monstrous connivance of the military and mining companies in their greedy plunder of our natural resources and their wanton violations of the peoples’ fundamental rights,” Fanagel said.
PASAKA Secretary General
Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao
c/o Diakonia Center , IFI Compound, F. Torres St. , Davao City;
Contact telephone #s: 305-0824; CP #: 0929-2658967
February 12, 2008