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Warren Cahayag filed this report for Davao Today over protests on Oct. 22nd over the massacre of the Capion family in Tampakan, Mindanao:
Anti-mining advocates led by church, lumads and progressive groups in Socsksargen and Davao strongly condemn the brutal slaying of the family of a Blaan anti mining leader in Tampakan, South Cotabato.
They are demanding the military to account for such “act of barbarity”, saying that relieving the perpetrators is not enough but the pull-out of these troops “who have become attack dogs against lumads who are only defending their land from being turned into ugly mine sites.”
The Mindanao Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN) said that the killing of Juvy Capion, the pregnant wife of anti-mining indigenous leader Daguil Capion and his two sons “was intentional and not a result of an encounter as claimed by the Philippine army.”
The 27th IB headed by a certain Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo in a radio interview claimed the incident was “a legitimate encounter” between his men and Red Pangayaw led by Daguil.
But Secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Socsksargends Ryan Lariba disputes this saying Bravo was “threading patent lies to conceal the atrocity,” which was the latest in the recent spate of attacks against staunch anti-mining campaigners in Mindanao.
The environmental group, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) accounted 28 environment defenders killed under President Benigno Aquino III in two years.
Prior to the incident, Gilbert Paborada, a lumad leader in Northern Mindanao was killed on October 3. He was the third lumad leader killed this year under the present administration, based on the data of indigenous peoples partylist, Katribu.
The National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organization in the Philippines, Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) cites that the Blaan declared pangayaw or tribal war against SMI was “just.”
“It is entrenched in the culture of the indigenous peoples to defend their land and life. For centuries, we defended our lands against the plunder of our territories and the killing of our people. SMI is a threat to the way of life and the survival of the Blaan people. The pangayaw being waged is just,” Piya Macliing Malayao, KAMP spokesperson said in a statement.
“However, the merciless murder of the unarmed and children are inexcusable. The military act as the security force of foreign business and interests, and not of the people,” Malayao added.
Gabriela’s Ilagan noted that one year after the death of anti-mining activist Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio the deaths of environmental activists in Mindanao continue. She said, “Indigenous families, including children are now direct targets in the Aquino government’s continued defense of mining corporations.”
Bayan-Socsksargends, together with its allied groups have picketed the SMI office in Bula Road in General Santos City to condemn the Tampakan Massacre and call for swift justice for victims.
Around 1,000 bishops, pastors and lay church workers under the nationwide membership of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) have also embarked on a “National Caravan Against Large Scale Mining and Impunity” this Monday.
In a press release on the day of action against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Sagittarius Mines Incorporated Katribu stated:
The KATRIBU Indigenous Peoples Partylist vehemently condemns the brutal massacre of a Blaan family in Tampakan, South Cotabato.
The report of KARAPATAN SOCSKSARGEN cited that “On October 18, 2012 at about 6:00 AM, members of the 27TH Infantry Battalion – Philppine Army under the command of Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo in full battle gear arrived in Fayahlob, Sitio Datal-Alyong , Brgy Danlag, Tampakan, South Cotabato. They strafed the house of the Capion family that caused the sudden deaths of two-month pregnant Juvy Capion, 27 years old, a farmer and her children JanJan Capion and Jorge Capion, 13 and 8 years old respectively. While her 5 year old daughter Vicky Capion was wounded.
What the elements of the 27th IB PA did to the family was a most barbaric act. This clearly proves that the State’s armed forces kills, even children just to protect the interests of large-scale mining companies such as the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI).
The massacre of the three members of the Capion family marks the 28th killing of indigenous peoples (IPs) under the Aquino administration. All 28 victims are IP leaders and community activists opposing of large-scale mining operations and so-called ‘development project’ into ancestral lands.
The IPs have taken different forms of actions to defend their ancestral lands against the encroachment of big business and foreign interests and projects. Investments and projects that are justified by existing laws and policies and allowed by government in violation of the IPs collective and human rights. Investments and projects that are protected by state armed forces and state-sponsored paramilitary groups acting as investment defense forces of big business and foreign interest.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) consistently fail to carry out its mandate to uphold IP rights. It is silent and inutile on the recent spate of killings of IPs. Worst, unending reports from the indigenous communites point to its collusion with mining corporations.
It is no surprise that IP groups and communities have taken up arms to to defend their ancestral. The most recent massacre and the intensified violations of human rights against IPs justify the active defense and armed resistance to defend their ancestral lands and assert their right to self-determination.
Justice for Capion family! Punish the perpetrators of the Capion massacre!