By BARRY OHAYLAN
DAVAO CITY – More than 2,000 peasants, Lumad and small-scale miners from different provinces of Southern Mindanao barricaded outside the headquarters of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) in Davao City.
The barricade is spearheaded by Pasaka Confederation, a Lumad organization, and Save Our Schools network.
The barricade was put up at 9 a.m. on March 18 after the Aquino government and the military failed to fulfill its promise to pull out the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troops from the communities and schools.
Many of the protesters were Lumad evacuees who have been staying for almost a year at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran House here in Davao city. The church sanctuary was attacked and burned by suspected paramilitary men and state forces a few weeks ago.
“There were already several dialogues held between the AFP and other agencies of the government, but they remain blind and deaf to the demands of the people,” said Kerlan Fanagel of Pasaka.
1. Pull out all AFP troops from lumad and peasant communities
2. Prohibit military encampments in schools and communities
3. Disband and disarm all paramilitary groups organized, armed and maintained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines
4. Indemnify and ensure the safe return of the evacuees to their communities
5. Secure, rehabilitate and rebuild lumad and peasant schools
6. Arrest and prosecute all perpetrators of human rights violations
7. Stop the vilification, threat and political harassment
8. Drop all trumped-up charges
9. Revoke all the exploration and operation permits of large-scale foreign mining companies
10.Remove Congresswoman Nancy Catamco from her post.
“For the past six years, the military has been attacking our communities under Oplan Bayanihan of the AFP. We will not leave. The barricade will not be dismantled unless a personnel from the National Government will come and face us,” Fanagel added.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told Fanagel in a phone call that he will try to talk with the heads of the national agencies and Malacanang to raise the demands of the indigenous Peoples and farmers who are conducting their protest in front of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City.
At around 5 p.m., after seven hours of barricade, the protesters opened the flow of traffic in front of the Eastmincom gates. This was after the national office of Department of Education asked the Department of Education regional office to discuss the matters with the protesters. Reposted by