Davao militant group slammed for anti-military propaganda
MANILA, Philippines — The military accused a militant group called PASAKA for making it appear that soldiers abused the residents in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
Colonel Harold Cabreros of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade said that security operations by soldiers are aimed to address the New People’s Army harassments in the area.
PASAKA is “taking advantage of the people, especially the [indigenous people], using them as propaganda in order to stop development from reaching the area,” he said.
In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Sunday, the datus of Salugpongan Ta ’Tanu Igkanugon accused soldiers of abuse, whose threats have prevented the residents from going to their farms to gather food.
Series of clashes between government forces and NPA, and alleged human rights abuses committed by soldiers, prompted the residents to evacuate last week.
Displaced residents accused soldiers of causing trouble.
Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao said on Monday in a press briefing that “for truth and peace, there were no abuses committed by the soldiers in the area. If indeed there are, then I myself will defend my people.”
He also accused PASAKA of discreetly gathering the residents to leave at night to make it appear that soldiers committed abuses.
Libayao said they are seeking assistance from Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to let the displaced residents return to Talaingod.
During the weekend, Davao City Social Service Development Office said there were 300 persons in Talaingod that fled their homes on the alleged militarization and abuses by soldiers. PASAKA reported there were about 1,300.
Datu Nestor Apas, a tribal leader, said the ones who organized the lumads and spoke for them were not originally from the area.
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