IP calls to stop military ops in Blaan community

THE indigenous people under the progressive Katribu Partylist condemned the recent assault to the life and rights of the indigenous B’laan in Bong Mal, Tampakan South Cotabato by the element of the Xstrata-SMI and State armed forces.

Reports received by the group claimed that more than 80 indigenous Blaan evacuated from the Bong Mal due to the intensive military operation launch by of the combine elements of   9th IB, 27th IB, Task Force Kitacom and Cafgu since January 28, 2013. A total of 500 strong men from the said composite group has been deploy in the said area

On February 1, 25 individual, mostly women and children, evacuated from the said community. It was followed by another batch of 30 individual in the morning of the February 2 and 15 individual in the afternoon of the same day. Most of the evacuees headed to the Tampakan Parish in tampakan South Cotabato to seek shelter.

The group called on the government and the military to immediately halt its miltary operation in the Blaan Community. According to Ms Kakay Tolentino, a dumagat spokesperson of the KATRIBU,  “The militarization in the B’laan communities is a perfect example on how development aggression like mining goes hand in hand with the militarization. It is an excellent example of how the government is hell bent to protect interest of foreign plunderer over the indigenous people rights.”

The indigenous people in Bong Mal recently launch a “PANGAYAW” against the giant mining company, Xstrata-SMI.  Pangayaw is a traditional war launch by the indigenous lumad to protect and defend their ancestral land from plunder and intrusion.

“It’s infuriating to think the government has used its oppressive might to address the legitimate concern of the indigenous people.”The Aquino government is using its military power  not only to violently suppress Blaan’s movement to defend their land  but also to promote State-sponsored and private transnational corporation project.” Ms Tolentino added

“We call on the Aquino government to immediately restrain and control its brutal armed force. The violence it unleash will not solve the root cause of the Blaan’s Pangayaw and continuing assault to the Blaan will only worsen the issue.  Continuing bloodshed will further fuel the rage and resolute of the indigenous Blaan to defend their land and their life,” the group said.

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