By Bal Kenneth Aballe and Maolen Oledan-Estomagulang/Davao Today Interns
DAVAO CITY – Southern Mindanao region posted the highest in terms of the number of rights abuses cases, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) said.
Among the four regions in Mindanao, the region posted 145 total number of violations followed by Caraga region’s 40, Northern Mindanao Region at 23, and Soccsksargen with 6 total number of violations.
Land grabbing and systematic land conversion aggravated by militarization, Lumad displacements, strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) cases, violence against women and children are the main contributors for a large number of cases.
Sheena Duazo, Secretary General of BAYAN said that farmers and Indigenous People (IP) in the hinterlands are the main victims of militarization.
“Displacement of IPs in Compostela Valley, Loreto, Agusan del Sur and Talaingod, Davao Del Norte are just few of the cases that we are assisting,” she added.
“For one, encampment in schools by military troops in a school in Talaingod, Davao del Norte is a big violation of the International Human Rights law as combats could exist in that place where there are children and other civilians,”Duazo stressed.
The Department of Education (DepEd) urged government troops early last month to spare Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Learning Center from military operations.
Read related story: DepEd urges govt troops to spare Talaingod IP school from clashes
In marking the International Humans Right Day, militants from various groups started a Peoples Camp in Freedom Park,Tuesday.
Suazo said that they are doing this in order to educate and inform others about the current situation on the human rights in the Mindanao with the help of different agencies in the city.
Kim Gargar, a former UP professor and a physicist and one of the victims of SLAPP cases, joined the protest to seek justice for persecution under Aquino Government and to call on the Aquino government to uphold human rights in the country.
Kim Gargar, was arrested by elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion of the Philippines Army on October 1, 2013 at Brgy. Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental while conducting a rehabilitation study on typhoon-Pablo devastated areas. He was accused of being part of the New People’s Army unit that the military engaged with in a nearby village. He was imprisoned for 10 months and was able to bail with the help of his colleagues.
“I’m still hoping that the military will withdraw the case that they have filed against me,” Gargar said.
Around 300 people from Mindanao’s various sectors also joined the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, a caravan going to Manila to seek justice for human rights violations in the region. Manilakbayan started last November 12 and will culminate on December 10. (davaotoday.com)