15-year old Lumad student killed in Talaingod

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 January) – A 15-year old Grade 3 student of the Salugpongan School in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, was killed Sunday reportedly by the paramilitary group, Alamara, the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network said.

Citing reports from the community, the SOS Network in Southern Mindanao said in its press release that student Alibando Tingkas was reported killed in Sitio Laslasakan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod by a member of the Alamara whom community members identified as Joven Salangani.

“We are enraged and saddened by this incident. The paramilitary group and their military cohorts will not stop from attacking and even killing lumads in the name of their counter-insurgency operations, even children are not spared anymore” Rius Valle, spokesperson of the SOS Network in Southern Mindanao said.

Valle said witnesses saw Tingkas and two adult companions walking home at around 3 p.m. Sunday, walking from Sitio Nasilaban, Brgy. Palma Gil heading towards Sitio Bayabas “when suddenly they were fired upon in Sitio Laslasakan, just a half-an-hour walk from Sitio Nasilaban.”

Valle said Tingkas was shot at the chest twice.

He said they have yet to confirm if the suspect, Salangani, was alone or with a group.

Valle noted that the suspect is from Sitio Barobo, “a known Alamara territory where a detachment of the 68th Infantry Battalion (is) located.”

He said the community believes that the Alamara was organized and funded by the 68th IB, an allegation the 68th IB commander denied.

The SOS said that the Alamara, like the Magahat-Bagani in Surigao del Sur and other paramilitary groups in Mindanao, “are believed to be funded and organized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to augment their forces for its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan in Mindanao.”

Lt. Col. Vicente Edgardo de Ocampo, commander of the 68th IB, told MindaNews “wala pong Joven Salangani na part ng 68th IB, sundalo or CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographic Unit). Wala din pong Alamara sa lugar ng Talaingod. What we have are CAFGUs. Wala din po kaming detachment sa Sitio Barobo” [There is no Joven Salangani in  the 6th IB, either as soldier or as CAFGU member. There is also no Alamara in Talaingod. What we have are CAFGUs. We also do not have a detachment in Sitio Barobo.]

The SOS Network said Tingkas was the “29th child victim of extrajudicial killing” under the Aquino administration’s “Oplan Bayanihan.”

Valle also said they have just received information that “teachers of Salugpongan school all over Talaingod have received threats from Alamara.”

“They said they will kill teachers in Sitio Tibucag, Sitio Nasilaban, Sitio Dulyan and Sitio Kamingawan on preposterous claims that these teachers are NPA (New Peoples Army) members,” Valle said.

He said the SOS Network will conduct further investigation as he called on local government officials in Talaingod  “to also investigate and apprehend those responsible, and for the national leadership to take heed lest things go out of hand and they will also suffer the consequences.”  (MindaNews)