Salugpongan teacher survives strafing incedent

Salugpongan teacher Ramel Miguel survived an attack by a paramilitary Alamara member last June 20 in Sitio Nasilaban.

The suspect, Rodel Angngangoy Butanlog barged into the school and threatened Miguel after the teacher filed a blotter on Butanlog’s recent harassment against him. Angered, Butanlog fired indiscriminately.  Salugpongan students quickly covered Miguel and everyone ran for safety, but one student was grazed in his private part during the incident.

Continue reading Salugpongan teacher survives strafing incedent

MISFI teachers flee from Alamara in Paquibato

Two teachers of the MISFI Academy in Brgy. Tapak, Paquibato District were forced to close the school and leave the community last July 7 after receiving threats from the paramilitary Alamara.

According to the teachers Jun Villasorda and Chavez Paterno Jr. the community members told them to leave immediately fearing retaliation from the Alamara members whose leader Ruben Lubawan was murdered in Panabo. Alamara members alleged the teachers were sympathetic to the New People’s Army.

The teachers had to trek for several hours through a different route for their safety. They received word from the community leaders in Tapak that Alamara leader Boris Cayuga warned the community they will burn the school and the teachers’ cottage, and hang the MISFI teachers if they plan to go back to the community.

Villasorda said in his statement he is dismayed by the Alamara’s red-tagging against them and the MISFI Academy and is concerned that classes have been disrupted for the children who have long been deprived of education from the government.

The Save Our Schools Network joins the MISFI Academy in calling out to President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Education to look into this continuing attacks by the paramilitary against lumad community schools.

We continue our call to stop the attacks on schools.

Alamara attacks drive 300 Manobos out of Talaingod

“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. Continue reading Alamara attacks drive 300 Manobos out of Talaingod

Tribal schools suspend classes after lumad boy’s murder

At least four tribal schools in Talaingod, Davao del Norte have suspended classes since last week for fear of more attacks following the January 17 killing of a teenaged lumad student by a member of the military-backed Alamara militia.

The Save Our Schools Network reported Tuesday that the teachers and students of Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center schools in Sitios Laslasakan, Nalubas and Panga-an in Barangay Palma Gil, and Sitio Pongpong in Barangay Dagohoy had decided to stay away since the killing of Alibando Tingkas. Continue reading Tribal schools suspend classes after lumad boy’s murder

Alamara, military blockade of Salugpongan foundation guests condemned

The Save Our Schools (SOS) Southern Mindanao network condemns the harassment of students, teachers, parents and visitors attending the Salugpongan’s 11th Founding Anniversary and Bwalawan Festival last September 28 to October 1, 2015 committed by the military and the Alamara.

Rius Valle, spokesperson of SOS network said that more than 300 students, teachers and PTCA members from existing Salugpongan Learning Centers in the region were harassed before entering Barangay Dagohoy, the venue of the foundation event.

“Soldiers together with ten (10) Alamara and tribal council leaders prohibited us from entering. We were anxious since some Alamara members were shouting at us and set up their bows, arrows, spears and bolos,” said Valle.

Valle said the tribal leaders headed by Lumansad Sibugan, supporters of Alamara, suspected they were bringing more Manobo people to the evacuation center in Haran, and insisted they have to pay “courtesy visit” to them for not informing them of the event.

Ronie Garcia, principal of the Salupgongan Learning Center Basic Education, refuted Sibugan’s claim as he said the school has been celebrating their anniversary for 11 years and in the past the Local Government Unit of Talaingod would even send its representative, but all of these change after the military arrived in 2013.

“I think this was never about courtesy. I think this is part of their plan to close down Salugpongan schools and threaten the students, teachers and the community as a whole to stop supporting Salugpongan” Garcia said.

Even after the celebration, the participants continued to be subject to harassments on October 1 when police stopped the vehicles from bringing the passengers home.

“When the participants were scheduled to go back to their respective campuses, suspected military agents together with the police (Kapalong Municipal Police Station) continued harassing us and issued absurd violations to our vehicles like driving without uniform, shoes, seatbelt and etc. One of our vehicles was impounded by the police after the driver failed to present a license which we think is just part of elaborative plan to discourage us in our support to IP schools” said Valle.

“We deplore these acts as this only proves that the military, LGUs, and police together with the paramilitary are desperate to close down IP schools as part of the counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino government,” Valle added.

“Their desperate actions however violates the lumads’ right to education and protection from the state. Their actions should be investigated by authorities,” he said.

The harassments did not stop the Manobo communities to celebrate the Salugpongan Foundation Day and Bwalawan Festival which included sports and musical programs.

“The successful event proved that the unity of the community – which also means ‘Salugpongan’- will overcome all barriers” said Ronie Garcia.

“In the 11 years of existence, they have now learned more how to defend their people and their land from encroaching corporate plunderers targeting Pantaron Range. The education they have acquired is an effective tool against destructive mining corporations and fascist attacks of the state, even more effective since the 1994 defense of their ancestral land against Alcantara and Sons (Alsons) logging firm” Garcia narrated.

The host community, Km 30 Barangay Dagohoy, expressed their appreciation for the school and is ready to protect their school.

“As Salugpongan leader Datu Guibang Apoga affirmed his stand to us, we will never abandoned the children, we will never abandoned the Lumads, and we will fight through spreading education” Garcia concluded.

Salugpongan foundation visitors harassed by Alamara and police checkpoints

(Salugpongan students celebrating their foundation day and Bwalawan Festival with songs)

Last September 28 and 30, some 110 participants to the 11th foundation event of the Salupgongan Community Learning Center were harassed by the paramilitary Alamara and police.

Some 116 participants including students, teachers and parents were on their way to the school’s ceremonies in the Km 30, Barangay Dagohoy, Talaingod when they were blocked by the Alamara and the 68th Infantry soldiers at an army checkpoint at Sitio Daligdigon, Barangay Dagohoy. The participants came from other Salugpongan Centers from Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Alamara leader Lumansad Sibugan insisted that the contingent had to get the permit from the tribal council before entering Km. 30.

The participants turned back and found another route to Km 30 later in the afternoon where participants held its sports festival and cultural activities for two days.

But on their way home on September 30, the participants were harassed again. A bus that was supposed to fetch the visitors was turned back at a military checkpoint. The contingent waited for hours amidst people suspected as soldiers approaching them and asking them questions and cornering a tribal chieftain for “interrogation”.

The contingent decided to hire jeeps to bring them home but was stopped by another checkpoint near Kapalong, the police cited various violations by the drivers and attempted to impound the jeeps, but stopped after a reporter who phoned a Salugpongan administrator who was among the contingent demanded to interview the police.

The contingent managed to get ‘rescued’ as the SOS fielded vehicles to get them home.

Salugpongan Center’s basic education principal Ronnie Garcia criticized the harassment as part of the attacks on Lumad schools. He said the Salugpongan school’s anniversary events have been peaceful until the soldiers came to their areas in 2013.

read more from news stories here
Interaksyon: Alamara militia in Talaingod blocks lumads from Salugpungan rites

Interaksyon: After evading bid to bar them from festival, tribal school teachers, students harassed on way home

“Lumad leaders” are actually paramilitary leaders

(Top photo from inquirer.net)

Two lumads who showed up in a press conference in the Army headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Manila are exposed now as leaders of paramilitary groups responsible to the attacks on lumads.

Last Monday, three lumads including Datu Malapandaw Nestor Apas from the Langilan Tribal Manobo based in Davao del Norte,  Marcial Belandres from Barobo, Surigao del Sur and Rico Macat of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur appeared in the presscon and claimed that the New People’s Army were responsible for the killings of Alcadev director Emerito Samarca, Mapasu leader Dionel Campos and his cousin Bello Sinzo.

News reports were critical of their claims. The Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote : “However, none of them presented any evidence or first-hand information to back up their allegations that the attacks were perpetrated by communist rebels.” see full story here NPA behind killings, claim ‘lumad’ leaders

Their claims contradict testimonies of Alcadev teachers and the community who saw how the paramilitary Magahat-Bagani Force shot Campos and Sinzo in front of them on the morning of September 1.

However, the big issue now is the revelation that Apas and Belandres are tagged as leaders of paramilitary groups.

Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel, who earlier voiced his stand to have the Magahat-Bagani disarmed, arrested and even shot, told the Inquirer that Belandres is a leader of the said group. Here’s an excerpt of that Inquirer report:

In a phone interview, Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel said Belandres was a Magahat-Bagani leader and “one of those we want arrested for harassing lumad communities.”
Documents earlier furnished by Pimentel to the Inquirer identified Belandres as a leader of a paramilitary group operating in communities in the boundary of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, particularly the small-scale gold mining site in Barangay Bolhoon in San Miguel town and in Barobo town.

 

The Inquirer report also revealed Apas as an organizer of the Alamara group which has been harassing the Manobos in Talaingod and Kapalong.  The report interviewed a Salugpongan leader who said Apas has abandoned the tribes:

Tribal leaders in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, assert that Apas, one of those presented by the military in Camp Aguinaldo, has long before turned his back from his own people after he joined another paramilitary group, Alamara.

He does not even have influence over the constituency, especially that he is not staying with the tribe in the hinterlands, Datu Doloman Dawsay said. “You cannot be a datu and stay in the lowlands.”

 

The report also quoted a MISFI teacher who was confronted by Apas and the Alamara:

A teacher of Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. recalled an incident on Feb. 6 when some 100 members of the Alamara and government militias led by Lito Masaloon occupied Sitio Muling in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong town.

The next day, soldiers from the 60th Infantry Battalion led by a certain First Lieutenant Roldan and Second Lieutenant Careño arrived along with Apas, who was wielding an M-16 rifle, and Matol Masaloon, said the teacher, Ricky Balilid.

On the third day of the occupation, Apas, along with Roldan and Careño, summoned the teachers to the house of Olong Tiklunay, took their pictures and lectured them about the government’s counterinsurgency campaign.

The full story can be read here Tribal chief in AFP briefing a paramilitary leader, says Surigao gov

Salugpongan leaders also said Apas was last seen during the botch rescue and attack on UCCP Haran last July 23.  Apas is also included in the case filed by rights groups for the said attack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police, military and Congresswoman Catamco sued over church attack

Manobo leaders and the UCCP heads filed charges against police, military officials and Congresswoman Nancy Catamco over the attack at UCCP Haran last July 23 that left 15 injured and
traumatized children.

The complaint filed by Bishop Hamuel Tequis of UCCP Southeastern Mindanao and leaders of Salugpongan, charged North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Nancy Catamco, Davao City Police Deputy Director Colonel Marvin Pepino, PNP Regional Intelligence Office Head Col. Filmore Escobal, and Colonel Jake Obligado of Eastern Mindanao Command as responsible for the incident.

They are charged with violations to the Revised Penal Code on seven provision including Usurpation of Authority or Official Function, Physical Injuries Inflicted in a Tumultuous Affray, Serious Physical Injuries, Qualified Trespass to Dwelling, Grave Threats, Grave Coercion, and Malicious Mischief.

Also charged are leaders of the paramilitary group Alamara which the Salugpongan leaders claimed instigated the attack. This is the same paramilitary that has been harassing them in Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte.

(Photos courtesy of Davao Today. Read coverage of the case filing here)
Respondents to Haran attack

Cases on Haran incident