EVACUEES from Lagongong town who have encamped at the Misamis Oriental capitol grounds were allegedly harassed Wednesday night by men who supposedly introduced themselves as city hall personnel who received orders from the capitol to play loud music and show films produced by the military.
In alerts posted online by the evacuees’ supporters, two men were seen operating a movie screen while loud music was blasting against the evacuation site apparently aimed at intimidating the evacuees.
In a statement of Kalumbay, a lumad federation of tribal groups in northern Mindanao, when confronted the two men allegedly said that they were from city hall and that the provincial capitol ordered them to set up equipment and play videos and music.
However, the evacuees’ spokesperson Sarista Acosta said both the capitol and city hall denied issuing an order and that they did not send the men there.
Supporters of Acosta’s group also said soldiers and police officers have been encircling the evacuation site throughout the night.
Nearly 40 Higaonon families have put up an evacuation center at the capitol grounds after troopers of the 58th Infantry Battalion of the Army allegedly occupied their community in Sitio Kamansi, Barangay Banglay in Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental.
Over 150 evacuees left their homes in May 26 and first set up camp at Lagonglong town proper on May 29 after days of trekking.
It is the community’s sixth forced evacuation since 2015.
The Higaonons believe that the intensified military operations were aimed at driving them away from their ancestral land which covers parts of Mt. Balatukan, and facilitate the entry of large-scale mining companies and agri-business plantations, Lumad organization Katungod said. (raymund villanueva of kodao)