Soldiers terrorize Mangyan communities? (3rd of four parts)

Last year, on May 22, 2010, another group of soldiers, 33 of them, “visited” Uybad. Two soldiers sat beside him, another took pictures. One of the men said that he has seen Uybad in different places. “Are you attending NPA trainings,” the soldiers asked. Uybad replied he was not attending any NPA training and that he just finished taking guitar lessons as a member of the Mangyan Christian Singers.

“Another soldier said I might be one of the NPA guerrillas who ambushed them and killed 11 of their colleagues,” Uybad said. “They even threatened me that they could shoot me any time.”

The next morning, Uybad was joined by village leaders and some 100 of his tribesmen in going to the military camp in Mansalay. A certain Lt. Gallardo apologized for his men’s actions and said that he believed that Uybad is not an NPA.

Meanwhile, Yamo Bangdayan, a Hanunuo-Mangyan from another village in Mansalay, said he was taken by soldiers of the 4th Infantry Battalion to their camp twice. At first, he was accused of spying for the NPA. The next time, sometime in December 2010, a certain Lt. Leopoldo Diokno asked Bangdayan if he would want to be a military asset. He refused.

Rowena Lindog, a Tadyawan-Mangyan from Socorro, Oriental Mindoro told that soldiers would sometimes pass by their house and ask for a live chicken in exchange for two cans of sardines.

As for Uybad, his work for his fellow tribesmen is that important that he would ignore the threats from the military.

Despite the seemingly new tack of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), indigenous peoples continue to be victims of human rights violations.

According to Katipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp), a national alliance of indigenous peoples organizations, there are seven indigenous peoples who have been killed under the Aquino administration. These include the three Dumagat-Remontado killed in Rizal, one Aggay in Cagayan Valley, B’laan father and son in Davao and a peasant Lumad. (with reports from Angelica de Lara)

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