[In the news] Paramilitary group accused of harassing sitio folk in Bukidnon town -MindaNews

MindaNews » Paramilitary group accused of harassing sitio folk in Bukidnon town.

By H. Marcos C. Mordeno
March 21, 2012

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 March) – Members of an alleged paramilitary group linked to an organization of ancestral domain claimants with mining interests are harassing residents of a sitio (sub-village) in San Fernando town, Bukidnon, a Lumad leader today said.

Listino Mampaglas, a Manobo and sitio leader of sitio Kirangol, Barangay Dao in San Fernando, identified the group as the New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (Nipar) led by Aldy “Butsoy” Salusad.

Mampaglas said Salusad is a member of the San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus (Sanmatrida), which has publicly admitted to inviting mining investors to operate in the area.

He alleged that Sanmatrida wanted to stop all gold panning activities in Kirangol to pave the way for its mining application.

He said “ayag-ayag” (gold panning activities) in Kirangol started at about the same time that logging entered the area, between the 1960s and 1970s.

“But it was stopped along with logging owing to protests led by the church,” he recalled in Cebuano.

Mampaglas was referring to the anti-logging barricades staged by the people of San Fernando in the late 1980s which led to the imposition of a logging moratorium in the province.

Gold panning activities resumed in Kirangol in 1996, he added.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Region 10 had issued a cease and desist order on the mining activities in Dao, saying these are all illegal.

In the order dated August 5, 2011 the MGB warned violators that they would be charged under the Revised Penal Code, Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other environment laws.

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