On the first anniversary of the unresolved T’boli massacre Group hits Duterte plan to extend martial law in Mindanao
Quezon City, Philippines – Progressive groups Sanlakas and Partido Lakas ng Masa Partylist staged protest actions at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp Aguinaldo as they commemorate the first year anniversary of the killings of eight (8) lumads now known as TAMASCO (T’boli-Manobo Sdaf Claimants Organization) 8 in Datal Bonlangon, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
The group claimed that the unresolved massacre is sufficient grounds to lift martial law in Mindanao since it only serves the interests of land grabbing corporations and not the Mindanaos themselves
On December 3, 2017, the 27th and 33rd Infantry Battalions (IB) of the military conducted ground assault and artillery bombardment on the TAMASCO community in Lake Sebu resulting in the death of its tribal chief Datu Victor Dinyan and his sons and relatives. The military justified the operation as an encounter against armed communist rebels.
“One year since the killings, the murderers remain at large. Worse, it is business as usual for Consunji’s coffee plantation encroaching operations on the T’boli –Manobo ancestral lands. As corporate and military perpetrators get away with cold-blooded murder, the Lumads continue living in fear, harassment and threats to their lives. The killers of TAMASCO 8 must be brought to justice; so must Consunji be driven out of lumad lands,” said Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, SANLAKAS, Secretary-General and PLM Partylist nominee.
Pedrosa adds that martial law in Mindanao has left lumads living in fear and have systematically fallen victim to encroachments on their ancestral domain by agro-industrial ventures and mining corporations.
“Any extension would only mean the perpetuation of human rights violations and ecological plunder of the natural resources which these communities rely on,” he said.
Consunji’s M&S./Silvicultural Industries Inc. (SII) has been granted an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) by the DENR which allowed it to run a coffee plantation in ancestral domains claimed by the T’Boli Manobos in South Cotabato and the Dulangans in Sultan Kudarat. Under IFMA 22, Consunji’s coffee business is granted the power to control forest resources within an aggregate area of 27, 530 hectares in Sultan Kudarat alone. A consolidated IFMA under IFMA 18-2007 empowers SII to undertake its coffee business for a period of 32 years even as it invades into TAMASCO ancestral domains.
“The communist bogey and red-tagging have been weaponized by security forces to legitimize its attacks on lumads and vilify legitimate opposition against the land grabbing schemes on ancestral domain. These have been the Duterte administration’s license to kill which affords corporations the protection it needs to operate in tension-filled communities due to indigenous peoples’ resistance,” Pedrosa further explained.
The protesters carried a coffin and mounted a wreath at the DENR Central Office and Camp Aguinaldo symbolizing the unresolved deaths of TAMASCO 8.
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