1002nd Bde protects Danding Cojuangco in Malita, Davao del Sur

ANG BAYAN
7 March 2012
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The 1002nd Brigade of the Philippine Army serves as the protector of big bourgeois comprador Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco in Malita town, Davao del Sur. Colluding with Cojuangco in sowing terror and raking in huge amounts of money from various businesses in Malita is the town mayor Franklin Bautista.

Hundreds of hectares of banana plantations are owned by the Cojuangcos in Malita and the same goes for the Bautistas. They continue to expand their plantations by deceiving the peasants or violently seizing their land. Currently, their main instruments in seizing vast tracts of land are the 39th and 73rd IB of the 1002nd Brigade.

Violence marks the Cojuangcos and Bautistas' landgrabbing schemes. Seven persons were killed and hundreds were wounded in Tarlac when the Cojuangcos' armed minions opened fire on striking farm workers in 2004. More than 20 persons have been killed by the Bautistas in the past several years in the town of Malita.

Malita's upland areas and its neighboring towns are being targeted for mining operations. One of the companies with a pending mining application is Looc Mining which is also owned by the Cojuangcos.

Heavy military presence and the AFP's "peace and development initiatives" have turned Malita into a virtual military garrison. The AFP imposes martial law through killings, food blockades, checkpoints, limits on the working hours and food brought by farmers going to their fields, interrogations, repeated harassment and maulings of civilians.

In 2011, four civilians were killed by the 39th and 73rd IB in Malita, with two of the victims slain in an exceptionally brutal way. They were hung on trees, hacked, stabbed and shot multiple times. These two battalions are notorious for human rights violations. Their crimes are brazen violations of the provisions of international humanitarian law and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Alongside such violence is the deception foisted on the people through Oplan Bayanihan (OPB). Under OPB, the military conducts "peace building seminars and rallies," the latest of which was held on February 25-27. About 200 people who had allegedly "strayed" and had now returned to the fold of the reactionary government were paraded before the public as surrenderees. In fact, they were civilians herded by the military from five interior villages of Malita.

Bautista and the 1002nd Bde also gave away P200,000 and a few goats to the "surrenderees" as a reward for returning to the government's fold.

The people of Malita are intensely repulsed by such highly insulting actions by the reactionary government and the 1002nd Brigade. Because of Oplan Bayanihan, poverty, violence and the lack of democracy have worsend in Malita town. This has encouraged its residents to join and support the people's war.