STATEMENT: Investment Defense Force swarming over mineral-rich areas

The massive military deployment and operations of composite units of 28th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA), 72nd IBPA, 67th IBPA, 30th IBPA, Special Forces, and Scout Rangers Batallion are the actual implementation of the IDF to facilitate the entry and/or to protect the interests of foreign large-scale mining and pesticides-dependent monocrop plantation companies.

Many indigenous people, particularly Mansaka and Mandaya, and peasant settlers are displaced by militarization and development aggression. Some of them were hurt physically and tortured mentally in the course of military operations.
At the first quarter of this year, around 410 families were forcibly displaced from Baganga and Cateel towns in Davao Oriental. At the start of the second quarter, around 104 Mandaya and Mansaka families have already been victims of forcible displacement/evacuation in New Bataan Compostela Valley. In Brgy. Mangayon Compostela town, an Ata-Matigsalug Village complains of cases of torture, physical injuries and harassment against 5 residents of which 2 are children. The same community complained of military encampment in civilian houses which is a direct violation of international humanitarian laws.
Appallingly, state-perpetrated human rights violations and atrocities heighten as mining companies of Transnational/Multinational Corporations continue to threaten the communities and fragile surrounding ecosystems – Key Biodiversity Areas – Mt. Kampalili-Puting Bato Range and Mt. Agtuuganon-Pasian Range found in these provinces.

Several mining applications, claims and reserves of the TNCs/MNCs in the area are presently threatening destruction of ecosystems. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) acted like private armies of plunderers are backing this up to the detriment of Mother Nature and the people.
But resistance of the peasants, indigenous peoples, and various sectors will continue.
Hence we from PANALIPDAN!-SMR denounce the ongoing militarization and development aggression which has taken a toll on civilian rights and the environment.
We demand the stop of militarization and development aggression in ComVal Province and Davao Oriental, the stop of the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya 2 and Investment Defense Force. We are calling for the pull-out of the 28th IBPA, 30th IBPA, 72nd IBPA, 67th IBPA, Special Forces, and Scout Rangers Battalion in rural areas.
We urge everyone to defend our national patrimony, environment and natural resources from plunder and to join us in seeking for justice for all victims of human rights violations.
Fr. Medardo Salomia
Vice –Chairperson

(Panalipdan!-Southern Mindanao is a group membering environmental advocates and activists, church people, academe, youth, farmers, Moro and indigenous groups united in the defense of the environment, food security, land rights and national patrimony.)