Lumad group blames militarization for food insecurity and poverty

Apr. 27, 2008

“On top of the food crisis suffered more severely by the impoverished farmers, militarization is making life much harsher for lumads (indigenous peoples) in the rural areas,” decried Kerlan Fanagel, secretary general of the Pasaka confederation of lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao.

The lumad group lambasted the military forces belonging to the 28th, 30th, 72nd, and 67th Infantry Battalions for launching an all-out war operations that affected the three towns of Baganga, New Bataan and Compostela Valley since April 6.

Members of the local farmer’s group New Bataan Farmer’s Association (Nebfa) were alarmed that troops belonging to these military units have encamped in a primary school in sitio (subvillage) Spur Dos, barangay (village) Ngan in Compostela town, “disrupting” children’s school activities and disturbing the peace in the area. The group sought the help of concerned human rights groups.

Nebfa also said some military elements encamped in the town’s gymnasium and in some residents’ homes.

Military operations of the composite unit also affected the lumad communities in the sitios of Macopa and Biangonan, Binantal, Cabetian and Uduan in barangay Manurigao of New Bataan town, according to Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas.

“A total of 64 families or 332 individuals, mostly Mansaka and Mandaya lumads, have been forcibly displaced in barangay Manurigao alone. This made life miserable to 266 women and children, most of them, malnourished,” Fanagel said.

Fanagel said the “militarist policy” of the Arroyo administration resulted to the poverty and “food insecurity” among the lumads.

“Poverty in the rural areas is first caused by lopsided development policies of the economist Mrs. Arroyo and her foreign capitalist clique. Then, by unjust wars waged by the bloodthirsty General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Commander in Chief,” Fanagel said.

“Arroyo and Esperon’s frenzy for war is the biggest contributing factor to food insecurity and poverty in the country,” he added. “Imagine the livelihood, opportunity and property damaged or neglected when the military transgresses civilian communities and turn them into theatres of war,” Fanagel said.

Pasaka calls for the immediate pull out of the military troops under the 1001st brigade commanded by Brigadier General Carlos Holganza in the towns of New Bataan and Compostela in Compostela Valley and in sitio Macopa in barangay Manurigao, in the boundary areas of Baganga, Davao Oriental.

For reference:
Kerlan Fanagel
Pasaka, secretary general
Contact number: 0919-271-4767

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