Lumads urge 88th IB to leave community in Bukidnon
The confrontation between between Lumads and 88th IB officials became heated during a dialogue held in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon last June 13. The Lumads urged the military unit to leave and demanded an end to its attacks in the community. The unit has occupied the communities of Eyaray, Lakap, Katablaran, Salorenga, Maynaga, Tombaga, San Vicente and Kahen. The dialogue was attended by the Cabanglasan local government, barangay captains and 200 residents from barangays Kanangaan, Iba at Manggaod, along with three chieftains. This was the first dialogue conducted in the area.
In a radio interview, Datu Konrado Salimbon narrated that in the past, they allowed themselves to be used by the AFP as paramilitary forces of Alamara and Bagani. They were regularly used as guides by AFP regular platoons against the New People’s Army. Their anti-Lumad activities ruined the communities and their tribal unity. For two decades, they had no livelihoods, and there were frequent “lidos” or interclan wars. The military also used them to plant marijuana in their ancestral lands in Pantaron.
But because of the 88th IB’s repression, they were forced to unite to escape from the military’s deception and exploitation. They decided to air their grievances and did not let attempts by the military to stop them from going out of their communities. They successfully demanded the local government to attend the dialogue amid intense focused military operations in their area.
The Lumads were angry with how the 88th IB summoned residents two at a time to force them to surrender as NPA members. They were further enraged when the military claimed that their presence is for the Lumad’s good. The 88th IB, however, admitted that they remain in the area because they regard the residents as Red fighters.
The 88th IB’s area of operation covers the municipalities of Valencia, San Fernando, Quezon, Maramag and Kitaotao. Human rights violations are rampant in these areas. From January 2019, Ang Bayan recorded seven cases of extrajudicial killings and 112 arrests. There were at least two bombing incidents which forced 3,509 individuals to evacuate. Last May 15, the 88th IB expanded its operations and covered the town of Cabanglasan. This came after the 4th ID’s declaration that it has already decimated the NPA in the aforementioned towns.