DAVAO City — The massive human rights violations committed against the Indigenous Peoples and farmers are designed to silence the opposition to the continuing operations of large-scale mining and plantations in Northern Mindanao and the rest of Caraga Region.
This was the assessment made by the environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).
“The military is trying to flush out the opposition to mining and plantation interests in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region,” said Kalikasan PNE Coordinator Leon Dulce.
Dulce pointed out that these Lumad and farmer leaders are the environmental defenders that continue to stand and oppose the large-scale mining and plantation operations in the said areas in Mindanao.
At present, these environmental defenders are protecting around 243,163 hectares of forest and agricultural lands within their ancestral domains and farmlands against the encroachment of these extractive and destructive projects in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region, he added.
Hundreds of Lumad residents from Sitio Manluy-a, Panukmoan, and Decoy in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town in Surigao del Sur fled from their homes after the Armed Forces of the Philippines conducted a series of artillery bombardment and harassments on Jan. 21.
On Jan.24, two Manobo farmers identified as Randel Gallego and Emel Tejero, all residents of Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon went missing after they were allegedly fired upon by soldiers while hauling abaca products.
The families of the two farmers found their dead bodies at a military detachment six days after they were reported missing.
The 401st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army claimed that Gallego and Tejero were killed in a clash between soldiers and the New People’s Army rebels. (davaotoday.com)