Lumad group slams state-sponsored food blockade in Davao, Agusan

Luamd students who evacuated to UCCP Haran continue their schooling. Photo from Jong Monzon.

Karadyawan, a group of Lumads, decried the intensified food blockade enforced by paramilitary group ALAMARA and the 60th and 72nd Infantry Battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that they deemed part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao.

In a press statement sent to media, the group said that hunger welcomed the Lumads in Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur this 2018 brought by intensified food blockade.

Karadyawan narrated that on December 23, 2017, ALAMARA and AFP started to bar the communities in Sitio Mangkay, Lunoluno, Kamunuan, Bugtong Lubi in Barangay Gupitan. Aside from this, brothers Ungging and Laris Mansaloon, both ALAMARA leaders in Sityo Patil, also warned the entire communities and threatened the Lumads that they would be ambushed if they will buy food and other goods.

“Kini nga panghitabo ug pagpangatake sa batakang katungod namo isip tao, ang katungod sa pagkaon, hugot nga gina-kondena sa Karadyawan,” says Datu Mentroso Malibato, leader of the group.

(This food blockade is a direct attack on our right to food, and we in KARADYAWAN condemn this in the strongest terms.)

Malibato recalled that they also experienced this in 2015, prompting them to seek sanctuary in Davao City as internally displaced indigenous peoples.

He added that also last year, support from government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development were blocked by ALAMARA and the Philippine Army.

Malibato insisted, “Kining food blockade sugod Disyembre 23 hangtud sa kasamtangan, pagpamatuod sa grabehan nga pagpangharas ug pagpanghikaw sa amoang katungod aron mukaon ug mabuhi. Dugang rason nga daw kung si kinsang gamhanan ang ALAMARA ug AFP ang padayon nga pagpatuman ug pagpalawig sa Martial Law sa Mindanao.”

(This food blockade that started on December 23 validates intensified attacks against us Lumads and is a direct violation on our right to life. They further justified these actions through the Martial Law in Mindanao.)

Aside from food blockade, Lumads also cried foul over other forms of harassments committed by ALAMARA including assassinations carried out by the group of Pendoy Lope, another ALAMARA leader.

The group said they expect more human rights violations to be committed in light of the state program of arming the Lumads.  Malibato disclosed that 300 lumads were trained last December by the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

The Lumads also besought attention to their plight from media, various government agencies and also from civil society groups as they feared the abuses they suffered might continue if these are covered up or washed out.

Karadyawan called for the immediate pull-out of the AFP in civilian communities in Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur. They also called on the disarming and disbanding ALAMARA as well as the scrapping of the extended Martial Law in Mindanao.

Karadyawan is based in Kapalong, home to thousands of Lumads belonging to the Ata Manobo tribe.

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