“Tell Ma’am Lolit that in five days, teachers of Salugpongan should leave this school, because when I return and you are still here, I will do what I have warned you before.”
These were the words of paramilitary Alamara member ‘Ang-angoy’ Butanlog, which he uttered in front of teachers and 15 students at the Salugpongan Learning Center in Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod last December 11.
Ang-angoy made this threat with a firearm and a jungle knife in his hands.
After the holiday season, teachers who returned to the schools found Ang-angoy lurking around with his gun.
A month later, shots were fired near in Sitio Barobo, a neighboring sitio to Nasilaban. A 15-year old student Alibando Tingkas was shot dead by the Alamara group.
The killing of Tingkas prompted the suspension of classes in four (4) communities (Sitio Pangaan, Pongpong, Laslasakan and Nalubas) affecting 243 students.
This again, prompted another wave of displaced Manobos, some 89 families or 296 people, safely staying in Davao City at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines – Haran Sanctuary Compound.
The affected communities are Sitio Laslasakan, Sambulongan, Biyalong, Nalubas, Pangaan, Inalay, Nasilaban, Dulyan, all of Barangay Palma Gil, and Sitio Tibucag of Barangay Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
They now join other evacuees who have been in Haran since April last year, coming from Kapalong, Davao del Norte and Kitatotao, Bukdinon. There are now 180 families or 673 individuals staying in Haran.
Last December 28, some 295 Manobo people from Talaingod returned to their communities after reports that the Alamara left their villages. But now, the fear continues in other villages in Talaingod. And who knows, these Manobos who had returned may come back for sanctuary again.
The attacks shows that no lumad child or teacher is safe as this government’s military program preys on them.
SOS Southern Mindanao reminds government officials to act to uphold the students’ rights to education as a signatory of international laws that ensure the protection of children from attacks on schools and of their right to education
As Salugpongan Center principal Ronie Garcia said, “We believe that no child or lumad community should suffer from such terror. The Alamara and the AFP’s presence hampers the dreams of every lumad in Talaingod and any other places to achieve education, literacy and protection of the indigenous culture and social practices and their right to ancestral land and right to self-determination. ”
While the SOS calls for the disbandment of Alamara and pullout of the military in lumad areas, the SOS also calls for immediate relief for the new evacuees in Haran.
The SOS requests for donations on the following:
– water containers
– hygiene kits
– wood for buidling shelter
– volunteers for schools and clinic
JONG MONZON, Mandaya Tribe
Secretary General, PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organization in Southern Mindanao
United Church of Christ in the Philippines – Haran Compound
Fr. Selga Street, Davao City (fronting Wireless Cemetery)
Contact info: Mobile: 09460089072
Spokesperson, SAVE OUR SCHOOLS NETWORK – Southern Mindanao Region
Contact info: Tel: (082) 222-5191, Mobile: 09192608443