Bombings and widespread militarization in Mindanao

7 April 2012

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A brutal and allout war is cureently being waged by the US-Aquino regime against the people of Mindanao. The war is in accordance with the regime's antipeople and antinational program that gives free rein to foreign mining and logging companies and commercial plantations to plunder the island's natural resources.

Since the start of 2012, the state's armed minions have been conducting relentless bombings, strafings and other human rights violations in civilian communities.

These sustained attacks have been concentrated in the areas of operation of multinational mining and agribusiness companies such as the South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Davao del Sur-Sarangani quadri-boundary where SMI-Xstrata operates; the Surigao del Sur-Surigao del Norte-Agusan del Norte tri-boundary where the huge nickel mines like Tag-anito and Nickel Asia are found; the vast plains of North and South Cotabato where the Dole-Stanfilco plantation is; Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley where the giant Russell Mining operates; at the Zamboanga Peninsula where Toronto Ventures Inc. is; and in Bukidnon where the sprawling Del Monte, Dole and Sumifru plantations are and where the First Gen hydroelectric power plant is located.

The indigenous people, progressive groups and human rights advocates have condemned the brutal and widespread bombings of civilian communities populated by national minorities in Mindanao. On March 30, tribal people who were forced to flee their homes marched in Butuan City to assail the indiscrininate bombings and demand the pullout of AFP troops from their communities.

The AFP's military operations have been extended over a wider scope through the use of Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary Units (SCAA) that were formed and expanded by the Aquino regime in October 2011. The formation of the SCAA was in accordance with the regime's policy of encouraging the entry and expansion of big foreign mining companies and protecting their interests.

On the whole, up to 3,000 people have been forced to evacuate during the crucial planting and harvesting seasons.

Three separate incidents of forced evacuation and other human rights violations have been documented in Bukidnon, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte and Compostela Valley by human rights advocates from February to March. Up to 250 families were forced to flee their communities in Kitcharao, Cabadbaran and hilly portions of Butuan, Agusan del Norte; Claver, Surigao del Norte; and Borobo, Surigao del Sur.

More than 120 families evacuated from Magpet, North Cotabato, more than 50 individuals from Kibawe and 19 families from San Fernando, both in Bukidnon, with other evacuees coming from Barangay Tibagon, Pantukan, Compostela Valley and Barangay Balabag, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.

Among the evacuees was the entire family of slain Lumad leader Jimmy Liguyon, who fled along with other members of his clan and community due to relentless threats from Aldy Salusad, leader of the New Indigenous People's Army for Reform (NIPAR), a paramilitary group run by the 8th IB. NIPAR killed Liguyon in February in his house in Dao, San Fernando. Salusad is also a member of the San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus (Sanmatrida), a group being paid by big foreign mining companies to eradicate local opposition to their operations in the area. The evacuees from Dao are currently staying in Malaybalay, the capital of Bukidnon.