Saturday, December 1, 2018

Reds step up attacks, kill 3 more soldiers

From the Gulf Today (Dec 2): Reds step up attacks, kill 3 more soldiers

Members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) appeared to have stepped up their attacks on government forces, killing three more soldiers in Agusan del Norte province in volatile Mindanao with another reported missing, the military confirmed on Saturday.

Lieutenant Andrei Colagong, the spokesman of an Army infantry battalion, said the soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion believed to have been set off by NPA insurgents in a remote “barangay” (village) in the town of Remedios Romualdez, Agusan del Norte on Thursday.

A soldiers was also reported missing but Colagong expressed the hope that he managed to escape during the heavy exchange of fire that highlighted the encounter following the landmine explosion.

He said the soldiers were returning to their camp after conducting security operations in the village when they were attacked by the insurgents, first by setting off the landmines they had placed along the road.

But due to their superior numbers and the surprise attack, the insurgents managed to overpower the soldiers and succeeded in seizing high-powered firearms from them before they fled, according to Colagong.

On Tuesday, the military said members of the NPA “hit squad,” called the “Sparrows,” ambushed and killed a soldier and wounded another in the town of Las Navas, Northern Samar in the Visayas in Central Visayas.

But on Saturday, Director General Oscar Albayalde, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), doubted the military claim, pointing out based on their records, the Sparrows, who gained notoriety through a spate of killings of “abusive” officials as well as soldiers and policemen, have stopped operating for some time.

“As of now, we have not monitored supposed activities of the Sparrow. But we believe that the Sparrow unit is no longer operating,” Albayalde told radio station DzBB in a mix of Filipino and English.

Last week, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte created a stir when he announced his plan to set up what he called the “Duterte death squad” to counter the threats posed to the security and safety of people by the NPA assassination unit.

Howls of protest from human rights advocates greeted the Duterte announcement, warning its establishment would worsen violations of state forces like the opposition and critics especially in the countryside.

NPA Sparrow Unit long gone — Albayalde

From the Philippine Star (Dec 2): NPA Sparrow Unit long gone — Albayalde

In the face of President Duterte’s wish to form a death squad to go after Sparrow units of communist rebels, the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the infamous hit squad is “long gone.”

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they have not monitored incidents involving these sparrow units of the New People’s Army (NPA) for the past three years.

Albayalde said they have tallied 136 killings allegedly perpetrated by the NPA.

“We have monitored those incidents but the Sparrow units of the NPA are no longer existing,” he said.
The President floated the idea of establishing a “Duterte Death Squad” or an armed civilian group to counter the Sparrow Unit of the NPA.

Albayalde noted that they have not received any directive from Malacañang regarding the plan.

Albayalde said the President may have been prompted to float the idea of a death squad following the spate of encounters with the NPA in the provinces of Negros and the Bicol region.

Duterte issued Memorandum Order no. 32 ordering the deployment of additional forces in Samar, Negros provinces and the Bicol region to suppress acts of violence.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. earlier said the creation of a hit squad is not part of the job of the police force.

Duterte’s security officials are cautious over the proposal while other sectors aired concern, saying that this would lead to more human rights abuses and deaths in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.

Armed Forces deploys 2 battalions to Samar

From the Manila Times (Nov 30): Armed Forces deploys 2 battalions to Samar

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had deployed two infantry battalions to Samar in compliance with Memorandum Order (MO) 32 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte ordering the military and the police to send more troops in areas where violent incidents occurred.


Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, said the military has assessed how many troops should be deployed in other areas.

“The assurance that we are giving to our people is we are always mindful and aware of operations necessities and requirements to the areas, especially with the issuance of the memorandum,” he added.

The military earlier said that MO 32 aims to prevent another incident similar to the killing of nine killed sugarcane workers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last month and the ambush of the convoy of Food and Drug Administration Chief Nela Charade Puno in Camarines Sur, also in October.

The PNP had said that its Special Action Force would be deployed in the provinces and regions listed in the memorandum.

It was a fake encounter – NPA

From the Visayan Daily Star (Dec 1): It was a fake encounter – NPA

The Roselyn Jean Pelle Command joined progressive organizations in vehemently denying that there was an encounter between them and the Philippine Army last month in Brgy. Washington, Escalante City, Negros Occidental.

Rebel spokesperson Cecil Estrella stressed in a statement that they did not have any operatives or combatants, or incurred deaths or casualties, as no encounter took place, contrary to military claims.

The Philippine Army reported that two rebels were killed and two high-powered firearms were recovered during an encounter.

Col. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, even awarded medals to soldiers and police troopers, who had participated in the encounter.

Estrella claimed that it was a misencounter between Army soldiers and SAF troopers. He also alleged that two government troopers had been killed.

Arevalo dismissed it as fake news, and challenged them to talk to the people, where the encounter took place.

Estrella further alleged that soldiers conducted illegal searches and ransacked homes of the civilians they interrogated.

China has ‘stern’ words with US over ship in South China Sea

From InterAksyon (Nov 30): China has ‘stern’ words with US over ship in South China Sea

US Navy

In this March 10, 2018 photo, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) transits the Philippine Sea during MultiSail. MultiSail is a bilateral training exercise improving interoperability between the US and Japanese forces. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sarah Myers/Released)

BEIJING — China said on Friday it had lodged “stern representations” with the United States after the U.S. Navy sailed a ship through the contested South China Sea, passing near islands claimed by China.

Tension between the two powers in disputed Asian waters comes as their relationship has between strained by a row over trade involving increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s imports.

The U.S. guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville sailed near the Paracel Islands on Monday to challenge China’s “excessive maritime claims”, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

China foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a daily news briefing the U.S. ship had entered Chinese waters without permission and China had made its position known with its “stern representations”.

The Chinese army said it had sent ships and planes to watch the U.S. ship and to warn it to leave.

The Chancellorsville’s voyage was the latest in what the United States calls freedom of navigation operations aimed at challenging what it sees as Chinese activity limiting freedom of movement in the strategic waters.

In particular, the United States has criticized China’s construction of islands on tiny reefs and shoals and its installation of military facilities on them, including airstrips and docks.

China claims “irrefutable” sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and the islands in it, and accuses the United States of raising military tension with its navy presence there.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all claim parts of the waterway, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year. Taiwan also claims the waters.

Judge on release of Talaingod 18: “their supreme right to liberty must be upheld”

From MindaNews (Dec 2): Judge on release of Talaingod 18: “their supreme right to liberty must be upheld”

Executive Judge Arlene Palabrica of the Regional Trial Court in Tagum City on Saturday night ruled that since the 18 persons arrested in Talaingod, Lanao del Norte for alleged kidnapping, trafficking and child abuse have posted bail and are still presumed innocent as no information has been filed against them in court, “their supreme right ot liberty must be upheld.”

Palabrica ordered oficers of the lock up jails of the police stations in Talaingod and Kapalong towns in Davao del Norte and in Tagum City to “release the accused, unless detained for some other lawful cause/s.”

But tension soon followed inside the courtroom after Palabrica issued the release order at around 7 p.m., prompting her to issue a supplemental order an hour later.

December 1, 2018 supplemental order issued by Executive Judge Arlene Palabrica. The judge said the 18 respondents are still presumed innocent as no information has been filed against them in court and “their supreme right ot liberty must be upheld.”

Padilla narrated in her supplemental order that police officer and lawyer Louie Padillo manifested they will not release the 18 because they are still undergoing preliminary invstigation for kidnapping and failure to retun a minor and that the bail of P80,000 recommended by Provincial Prosecutor Norman Solis is for violation of RA 7610 only.

She said Padillo and another lawyer had approached her in chamber seeking clarification “as well as insisting on his view” that the 18 should not be released

The 18 respondents are ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo, Meggie Nolasco, executive director of the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center; Pastor Edgar Ugal, Reverends Ryan Magpayo and Jurie Jaime of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) Davao; Pastor Eller Ordeza of the United Methodist Davao; Jesus Modamo and Maryro Poquita, staff of the ACT Teachers’ Party List; and Salugpongan Community Learning Center teachers Maria Concepcion Ibarra, Jenevive Paraba, Nerhaya Talledo, Maricel Andagkit, Marcial Rendon, Ariel Ansan, Mariane Aga, Nerfa Awing and Wingwing Dansay.

The judge said she asked Padillo to “file a pleading and the other laweyr to clarify the matter with Prosecutor Solis, to enable us to rule on it. They failed to heed the advice.”

She refered to Padillo’s manifestation as “unexpected nay inappropriate” which prompted an “angry reaction” from Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and the other respondents who were epxecting to be released.

Joel Mahinay of the National Union of People’s Lawyers had earlier said they posted the 1.44 million peso bail bond (at 80,000 pesos each) at around 1 p.m. but by 6 p.m. the court in Tagum City was still waiting for the police to bring to it the respondents detained in Talaingod and Kapalong towns.

The 18 were distributed in three detention areas — nine at the lock-up cell in the municipal station in Talaingod, five in Kaplong and four in Tagum.

“We do admire and aprpeciate our police force for doing their job. We also admire the good argument of PO laywer Louie Padiollo. However, we must rule in favor of the respondents. It must be borne in mind that the prosecution merely recommends bail, the court has the final and ultimate say on it.”

The judge maintained the 18 respondents are “still presumed innocent” and “their supreme right to liberty must be upheld.”

The judge also declared that the 80,000 peso bail bond posted by each of the repsonent “is for the cases they are charged and are pending before the Provincial Prosecution’s office” and reiterated her order for the police officer or military personnel or anyone who has custody of the respondents “release them from custody and detention.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., twitted his disgust over the ‘human trafficking’ complaint against Ocampo. “Human trafficking? Bullshit. I won’t even bother to get the other side. I know Satur. We protected him in our Congress against warrants of arrest,” Locsin wrote.

Talaingod 18 bypassed tribal council, tribal leader says

From MindaNews (Dec 2): Talaingod 18 bypassed tribal council, tribal leader says

The group of ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo bypassed the authority of the Talaingod Tribal Council when it conducted its National Solidarity Mission without seeking the Council’s approval, tribal leader Bae Pilar Libayao said.

In her affidavit executed at the Municipal Police Statio of Talaingod on November 29, Libayao said the Mission members “did not ask any permission from my office as the Municipal Tribal Leader of Talaingod and IP Mandatory Representative.”

Castro,Ocampo, four Protestant pastors and 12 others are facing charges of trafficking, kidnapping and child abuse when they attempted to transport 14 minors out of Talaingod, a move the Mission members claimed to be a rescue of the children from alleged harassment of a paramilitary group.

The group’s lawyer, Joel Mahinay of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said his clients responded to the distress call of volunteer teachers and Lumad children who fled after the paramilitary group Alamara allegedly shut down the Salugpongan community school in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod town in Davao del Norte.

Libayao, however, argued that Ocampo’s group should have coordinated and sought the approval of the Municipal Tribal Office.

“This is the mandate of our Municipal Tribal Office that different sectors, organizations and other agencies from government or private must secure a clearance from the office of the MTO and IP Mandatory Representative of all barangays if they have activities to do so,” she stressed.

Datu Banao Bubunan, IP Mandanatory Representative, of Barangay Palma Gil said he had “no knowledge” about the Mission’s activity on November 28.

Totoy Loyod, a resident of Upper Dolian, Barangay Palma Gil, the same town also said that group “did not ask permission regarding the transport of my daughter Jonelyn from Talaingod to Maco.”

Loyod said he went to the Salugpongan community school in Sitio Dulyan on November 24 to fetch her daughter Jorelyn because he wanted to bring her daughter back home but to no avail.

“The volunteer teachers did not allow me to talk to my daughter. Instead, they told me that they will bring my daughter to UCCP Davao for they are preparing for a mass rally and they wanted my daughter to join the activity,” he added.

Upon learning the situation of her daughter, Loyod said he sought the help of the Philippine Army’s 56THInfantry Battalion to rescue the victim.

Suspected rebel guns down Navy officer in Albay

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): Suspected rebel guns down Navy officer in Albay

A suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) gunned down a Philippine Navy (PN) officer in Pio Duran, a coastal town in Albay, on Friday.

Killed was Jesus Jacinto Saavedra, 55, Senior Chief Petty Officer assigned at the PN headquarters based in this city, spokesperson of the PN Naval Forces in Southern Luzon, Ensign Estela Jane Sasil, said on Saturday.

Sasil said the victim, a native of Barangay Caratagan in Pio Duran, was on his way home when he was attacked by a suspected NPA hitman at about 4:10 p.m. The victim died on the spot, a police report said.

Sasil said the victim, who was set to retire next year, has received death threats as he was active in civil-military operations in Albay.

Quoting an intelligence report, she said the victim’s name was on the communist rebels’ hit list.

Clan war displaces civilians in NoCot-Maguindanao border

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): Clan war displaces civilians in NoCot-Maguindanao border

PIKIT, North Cotabato -- Police said a farmer was killed while six others were injured in a series of clashes involving Moro families at the border of North Cotabato and Maguindanao here on Thursday and Friday.

The violence also sent hundreds of families fleeing to safety, according to Chief Insp. Theng Bacal, Pikit police chief.

Pikit Mayor Sumulong Sultan said the municipal disaster risk reduction and management council office quickly attended to the needs of the displaced families.

“The affected areas are Barangay Kabasalan in Pikit, North Cotabato and Barangay Darampua in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao, where some 300 families evacuated to safer grounds due to the fighting,” Sultan said.

The families locked in the conflict are from the Kusain-Saligan and the Hadji-Nasser. Both have relatives with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, police said.

Both clans have for months been sporadically trading shots in Kabasalan, Pikit and Darampua, Sultan sa Barongis due to a land dispute.

Tahira Kalantongan, Pikit's MDRRMC officer, said the MILF has already sent emissaries to the warring clans "for them to stop firing guns and allow civilians to return home."

Kalantongan said town officials are facilitating the return of the displaced families as of posting time.

Family feud is one of the major concerns of the MILF that needs immediate attention once it assumes leadership of the expanded Bangsamoro political entity in Muslim Mindanao.

Through the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the MILF will soon take over the helm of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

NPA leader, 5 others surrender in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): NPA leader, 5 others surrender in Sultan Kudarat

SURRENDER. Senator Ninoy Aquino Mayor Randy Ecija Jr receives a rifle during ceremonial surrender Friday (Nov. 30) from one of the six NPAs who surrendered to Army in Sultan Kudarat. (Photo courtesy of 33rd IB)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- Six communist rebels belonging to the Guerilla Front 73 of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered in the Sultan Kudarat town of Senator Ninoy Aquino on Friday, Army officials said.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion, said the six NPA surrenderers included a rebel leader named Ka Loloy, 50, a resident of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

Cabunoc said the latest batch of NPA surrenderers indicate that the military and the local government of Senator Ninoy Aquino town "are winning the hearts of communist rebels."

He said the rebels yielded "because they want to live normal lives."

Ka Loloy, the group's leader, said he "learned about the social benefits of the government program extended to our companions" who had earlier laid down their arms.

Cabunoc said Ka Loloy, who brought with him five of his comrades, vowed to support the national government’s peace initiatives.

The former NPA members are expected to receive cash benefits for the five assorted weapons that they handed over to the government through the Army -- a caliber .30 Springfield rifle, a caliber .45 M1911 pistol, and three caliber .38 revolvers.

Cabunoc has presented the former rebels to Senator Ninoy Aquino Mayor Randy Ecija Jr. and Col. Robert Dauz, commander of the Army's First Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

He and Dauz also presented the rebel returnees to Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, who happened to be in town on Saturday to inspect a government-proposed housing project for former rebels.

Mapagu, former Philippine Army chief, chairs the government Task Force Balik-Loob, who said that his office will fulfill President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to help rebel returnees.

“The pledges of our President are real. I would like to call on the remnants of the communist rebels to rejoin the mainstream society,” he said.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, welcomed the latest NPA surrenderers.

"This is a welcome development in our campaign against the communist terrorists. It is a reflection of their renewed trust to our government as a whole,” Sobejana said.

Since March 2017, almost 200 rebels have surrendered through the facilitation of the 33rd Makabayan battalion. The rebels operate in the Daguma Range that straddles Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

Lumads condemn Ocampo, 18 others for trafficking

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): Lumads condemn Ocampo, 18 others for trafficking

Some 700 IPs gather at the Talaingod New Terminal on Saturday in preparation for their protest rally against Satur Ocampo and his 18 companions.

DAVAO CITY – Some 700 members of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities, government, non- government organizations and other groups on Saturday condemned the "unacceptable activities" of Bayan Muna president and former solon Satur Ocampo and his 18 companions after they were nabbed for allegedly recruiting children to rally against the government.

In a rally held in front of a police station in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the IPs, led by Datu Guibang Apoga, asked Ocampo and his allies to stop exploiting the lumads, especially the children.

Ocampo and his 18 companions are being detained at the Talaingod Police Station detention facility for violation of the Republic Act 7610, or the act providing special protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, following their arrest at a police checkpoint early this week. They were trying to bring out some 14 Lumad children from Talaingod without any parental consent.

Ocampo and Castro claimed they were in the area “to rescue” children and teachers of the Salugpungan Learning Center following the suppose forcible closure of the school.

Datu Allan Kausing, who is one of the members of the Council of Elders of Talaingod, said they already realized how they are being exploited by the New People's Army.

Not welcome

Kausing said Salugpungon schools are no longer welcome in their community.

He said 14 Salugpungan schools had been closed after the Council of Elders declared them as persona non grata because these have no prior consent.

Ocampo and his companions, he added, also did not seek permission from the council when they took the Lumad children.

Datu Kausing said seeking a prior consent of the council for any activity inside the ancestral domain is detailed in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).

"Sila wala magpahibalo sa tribo. Kana supak sa among balaod (They -- Ocampo and companions, did not ask permission. That is a violation of our law)," he said in a phone interview.

A military officer, who requested not to be named, said the rallyists also cried justice for Lumad leaders killed by the NPA.

He said they also want education, but only in legitimate tribal school education run by government, and not in the Salugpungan, which is accused of using a different curriculum and promoting the communist doctrine.

In a press statement, Capt. Erick Wynmer Calulot of the Army's 1003rd Brigade said angry tribal leaders and residents from the municipality condemned the act of Ocampo's group, demanding that they leave the area and not take their children.

He also recalled the passage of a resolution by the Talaingod municipality, led by Mayor Basilio A Libayao, condemning the left-leaning groups' activities and presence in their municipality.

Datu Lomansad Sibogan, spokesperson of the Tribal Council of Elders of Talaingod, said Salugpungan is backed by the NPA and left-leaning groups.

Sibogan said he personally saw commanders of NPA being accommodated by teachers of Salugpungan inside its main campus in Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod.

Sibogan and Datu Guibang were once NPA members until they decided to abandon the communist struggle this year.

He recalled witnessing the teaching during night sessions. However, he said, the lessons during daytime sessions are correct.

A young Lumad boy from Central Baugan of Barangay Palma Gil also recounted how his life was ruined by the NPA, and as a student of Salugpungan since he was 14 years old, he was already indoctrinated into the communist struggle.

The rally ended at around 12 noon.

Satur Ocampo, 17 others out on bail

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 2): Satur Ocampo, 17 others out on bail

DAVAO CITY – Bayan Muna president and former House representative Satur Ocampo, and 17 others facing raps over alleged trafficking of minors were released at half past 8 p.m Saturday after each of them posted a bail of PHP80,000.

Executive Judge Arlene Palabrica, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 31 in Davao del Norte, ordered police authorities to release Ocampo, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, the school administrator and teachers of the Salugpungan Community Learning Center (SCLC), two staff of the ACT and three ministers of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) and one of the United Methodist church, who were arrested on in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Nov. 28.

They were also accused of violating Republic Act No. 10364 or The Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 and Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code which defines and provides penalty on the offense of kidnapping and failure to return a minor.

Hours before their release, the court also conducted a preliminary investigation, including the waiver of Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code that provides delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities.

These were earlier requested by Ocampo and Castro.

The release of Ocampo and others was confirmed by Davao del Norte Provincial Director, Senior Superintendent Felu Silvio, and Police Regional Office (PRO)-11 spokesperson Chief Inspector Jason Baria on Saturday night.

Senior Inspector Alerene Faluche of the Talaingod Police Station, in a text message, also confirmed that 11 female minors have been turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here on Friday; one female minor was already fetched by her parents while the two boys were handed over to DSWD Tagum City.

The minors are also undergoing counseling while waiting for their parents to get them.

Ocampo and Castro were reportedly part of the National Humanitarian Mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte due to a report that students of the said lumad schools were fleeing the area following the latter’s forcible closure.

Ata-Manobos want salugpungan schools out

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 2): Ata-Manobos want salugpungan schools out


With thirst for education, members of Ata-Manobo communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte once welcomed schools known in their communities as “salugpungan”. But they soon found out that what they thought was a blessing, brought them a curse.

Now, they are shouting for such schools to be closed.

Spokesperson of Talaingod Tribal Council of Elders, Datu Lumansad Sibogan admitted having been part of putting up salugpungan schools some years back.

He was then thinking that having such schools especially in far-flung Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil, would serve well for the young Ata Manobos who then had no schools to go to for education.

The protest held by the Ata-Manobo communities in Talaingod on Nov. 30, 2018 against the “salugpungan” schools.

NPA influenced

In two interviews with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Sibogan expressed having good faith in salugpungan, an Ata Manobo term meaning unity. But he has relinquished such faith having found out that that such schools are influenced by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Sibogan claimed having witnessed armed men dropping by such schools and allegedly accommodated well by the salugpungan teachers. He knew them as NPA commanders because he was once a recruit of the NPAs.

Despite this behind the classroom reality, he noted students were learning. However, he feared about the mindset that such schools were developing among the young people.

He revealed having noted that students of salugpungan were taught how to dismantle firearms. He once had a chance to observe them doing such during the students’ night session.

“Ensaktong curriculum sa buntag , sa gabii lahi na pud. Pag-graduate sa bata kasamok ang naa sa ulo. (they’re taught the right curriculum in the day but differently at night. Upon graduating, they’d have chaotic mindset),” he said, sharing his thoughts in an interview before his group staged a protest action against twisted education and against arming children.

Absence of tribal consent

His group also raised protest over activities of NGOs with no tribal informed consent. Sibogan was citing the recently reported entry of NGO personalities in tribal communities of Talaingod allegedly on eight vans with on-board children identified as students of salugpugan schools.

Sibogan expressed concern over mothers who were looking for their children later found among those on board the vans held at a checkpoint of Talaingod Municipal Police Station (MPS).

He cautioned those NGO personalities “not to come back otherwise something will happen to them.”

Meanwhile, 20-year old Abenad Bago was gritting in bêtween his teeth at the protest rally line as he called out an NGO personality being held at Talaingod . Bago identified that personality among those running the Salugpungan schools.

Abuses on young IPs

Bago was furious about how he and other young Ata-Manobos were sent to join protest rallies against the government, how they were made to believe in twisted education and in false information.

Aside from these, Bago confided being sexually abused by a gay teacher of salugpungan.

“Sa among kultura pwede namo siya patyon kay nakalapas sa among tawhanong katungod. (In our culture, we could executive him for having violated our human rights.),” he said referring to both the NGO personality and the gay teacher.

On the other hand, 24-year old Manuel Salangani confessed of the same experience with Bago. He said he was made to join protest rallies as a grading requirement of his salugpungan teachers.

“Bisan asa mi dal-on. Ang importante basta makakuyog sa rally naa kuno gihapon mi grado ana. (We were taken wherever. What was supposed to be important was for us to still get grades for joining rallies.),” he told PIA XI.

Later, he found out that he had no grades, not even school records. He was not accepted by DepEd public school teachers for failing to present the necessary document required from transferees.

“Wala koy mahatag kay dili man sila mohatag nako. (I could not present the requirements because they’re not releasing),” he said referring to salugpungan teachers.

What even made him remorseful about his salugpungan days was the sexual abuse he experienced with his male teacher he later realized as “gay.”

“Kana nga eskwelahan dili na makatabang sa akoa. (That school is not helping me),” he said.

Datu Sibogan, Bago and Salangani were only few of some 300 Ata Manobos who joined yesterday’s activitiy that became a venue of expressing their disgust.

They called for self-governance. They wanted NGOs perpetuating twisted education to stay out of their place. They wanted their children to go through generally accepted system of education, armed with right knowledge, unarmed and not harmed.