AFP lays siege on 12 Bukidnon communities
Five battalions of the Armed Foces of the Philippines (AFP) are currently conducting focused operations in 12 communities situated in the boundaries of Cabanglasan and San Fernando, Bukidnon since January this year. No less than 1,400 soldiers from the 60th IB, 56th IB, 57th IB, 58th IB, 88th IB, Scout Rangers and Division Reconnaissance Company are currently operating in the area. Early on, the said communities have been bombed, shelled and strafed since the last quarter of 2018.
Among those covered by the focused operations is Sitio Tapayanon, an remote community with more than 400 residents.
In a desperate attempt to quell the struggle of Lumads in Tapayanon, the AFP paraded residents and minority leaders as communist surrenderees last March. The 60th IB now utilizes the community as a showcase of a “successful” E-CLIP implementation.
In 2016, the AFP has closed down the Lumad school run by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) in Tapayanon. This is the biggest Lumad school in Bukidnon which had more than a hundred students in literacy and numeracy.
Since 2017, residents been opposing two major road projects in the area—the Laak-San Fernando and Mactan-Miaray roads—as these will encroach on their ancestral communities.
In truth, the community is being hamletted by the military. Residents’ mobility and the entry of food and other supplies are restricted, and they were prevented from tending their farms. Their leaders are also subjected harassment and are barred from coordinating their situation outside the community.
As a result, more than 150 families from adjacent commmunities were compelled to evacuate and camp out in Malaybalay City since the 2nd week of March.