Under the Gun: A Pattern of Military Atrocities in Lianga (Sidebar)

The Carrascal evacuees reported the same mode employed by the 58th IB in Lianga: the supposed “Kalayaan sa barangay” projects that they were implementing, the forcible recruitment into TFG, and the disruption classes because the children were fearful of the fully-armed soldiers outside the school.

The evacuees are staying at the village center of Adlay, Carrascal.

Protection Against Violation

A Mapasu leader said they had to evacuate to protect the villages.

“We were being starved, threatened and pressured to join TFG. At the evacuation center, we are still hungry, but at least we are safe.” He said that in the remote, upland villages, nobody else sees these effects of the soldiers’ presence on the Lumad folk. Outside the villages, in the evacuation center, they are able to ask for help.

The absence of the 15 Lumad villages has evidently affected the town. “Diatagon quieted down,” Valmores described the activities in the Diatagon barangay proper, particularly the market. The 15 communities are rich sources of agricultural products in the market.

A report of an Aug. 8 to 9 solidarity mission to the Tandag evacuation center said: “The root cause of the displacement, which is military occupation of their communities, is within the control of the military hierarchy and civilian authorities to reverse. Their inflexibility upon this position, despite the people’s protest, is clearly self-serving and does not consider public interest.”

The report said that the military’s insistence to stay in the communities is a violation of the “principle of non-refoulement that specifically protects internally displaced persons against forcible return to or resettlement in any place where their life, safety, liberty and/or health would be at risk.”

The said principle is in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement which is based on international humanitarian and human rights laws. It has been adopted by the United Nations as the “basic international norm” for internally displaced persons.

The mission report said “the military also clearly targets” the TRIFPSS and the Alcadev schools “which not only disrupted classes but also denies these children the right to education.”

The mission recommended the formation of an independent fact-finding mission as well as an investigation by the Commission on Human Rights to look into the militarization in the area. (Dee Ayroso / bulatlat.com)

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