Lawmaker seeks probe on pregnant woman, children killed in South Cotabato

A LAWMAKER has called for a congressional inquiry into the killing of a pregnant woman and her two sons and the wounding of another child by members of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT), author of House Resolution 2923, also asked the Philippine Army to pullout the members of the 27th IB and the special Cafgu armed auxiliary units from the area who are allegedly being used as a private security unit by Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines, Inc.

According to a report, at around 6 a.m. on October 18, 2012, elements of the 27th IB under the 10th IB Division of the Philippine Army led by 1st Lt. Dante Jimenez strafed a hut in Fayahlob, Sitio Datal-Ayong, Bgy. Danlag, Tampakan, South Cotabato, killing Juvy Capion, 27 who was two months pregnant, and her two sons, John, 8, and Pop, 13, and wounding her daughter Vicky, 7 years old.

Tinio said the victims were the wife and children of Danguil Capion, a B’laan tribal leader and anti-mining activist. Juvy is also a member of Kalgad, a B’laan organization opposed to the entry of Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) into their community and the displacement that would surely result from it.

Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, claimed that Danguil Capion was a “notorious bandit” allied with the New People’s Army and that his group fired upon the elements of the 27th IB that night, and that Juvy and their children were “collateral damage” during the firefight.

The witnesses described the incident as a cold-blooded massacre and not an encounter. The members of the 27th IB came to Sitio Datal-Ayong in three Army vehicles after receiving a report that Danguil was in the area and immediately strafed the hut of the Capion family.

Quoting reports, Tinio said the massacre was such that the family could no longer recognize their loved ones, adding that the military allegedly dragged the remains outside the hut, left them on the ground, and did not allow the family to claim them which is a violation of the tribe’s tradition.

The community also reported that after the incident, the military did not allow B’laans to enter the village and threatened them not to report the incident to the media, Tinio said.

The estimated 30,000 B’laans living in the area are opposing the mining operations in their ancestral land. They were victims of harassment and vilification by soldiers and paramilitary units.

“This massacre is the latest in the spate of human rights violations against indigenous peoples who oppose large-scale operations by foreign-owned mining companies, which result in the destruction of their ancestral lands, deprivation of their livelihood, and desecration of their culture,” Tinio said.

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