Filipinos should never forget Digos massacre

It is quite common these days to read from the newspapers violence being perpetrated by the communist New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that most Filipinos no longer care as long they are not the poor victims. People have become so passive that when rebels committed atrocities to civilians, none would make a fuss about it or chastise the perpetrators — except for the families of the victims and the authorities. None would take the initiative to launch a crusade to seek justice. This is also what happened 27 years ago today.

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Very few would likely remember that on June 25, 1989, in a small village in Digos, Davao Del Sur, 39 people, many of them children, were mercilessly gunned-down by CPP-NPA rebels while they were attending a Sunday mass. Two of the victims, UCCP Pastor Ruben Ayap and his brother were beheaded. The motive: the village leaders refused to cooperate with the rebels. The CPP-NPA general command later admitted responsibility for the brutal killings and promised indemnification of the families of victims, which never happened.

The incident which became known as the “Digos Massacre,” captured the national attention back then. The entire country was enraged by the carnage. However, none have taken the matter too seriously except the government. Even the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), later on, in an ironic twist, gravitated towards the left who perpetrated the killings of its flock. It even placed the blame on the government. Eventually, the incident slowly faded in the people’s memory. There was no justice attained.

Now, after two decades since the Digos incident, the CPP-NPA continue to perpetrate atrocities without remorse, especially now that they are operating more and more like a criminal gang (or, rather, several dozen separate gangs united by ideology and tactics). Aside from killing civilians opposed to them, they have also ventured into numerous criminal activities like extortion, robbery, raids, etc in order to get the money to buy needed supplies and provide for the families of the leadership. Sadly, even up to now, the people remained passive of them.

When will the people take active role in condemning the CPP-NPA? Will it take another “Digos Massacre” for the people to act? The fight against the CPP-NPA is not solely the duty of the government. It is the duty of every freedom-loving Filipinos who abhor violence and value justice. If the people will not provide even vocal support, the effort to defeat the rebel-turned bandits will be futile. The Filipinos should not remain deaf and blind. This is the least they can do for the victims of the “Digos Massacre” and the numerous other victims of CPP-NPA cruelty.

This article was written in remembrance of the victims of the Digos Massacre . May their souls rest in peace.



Religious leader stabbed to death by NPA rebels

npa killing - baguizCAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A former policeman who founded a religious group was believed killed by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Monday, authorities said Tuesday.

Stabbed to death was Francisco Baguiz, a retired police officer and founder of Apocalypse International Ministry, Inc. (AIM, Inc.) based in Sitio Sioan in Barangay Malinao in Gingoog City.

Police said Baguiz was driving his car when he was flagged down by armed men wearing Army uniforms in Sitio Kibalikin in Malinao.

SPO4 Teddy Macarayo of the Gingoog police said Baguiz got out of the vehicle and must have thought that it was soldiers who flagged him down.

Macarayo said Baguiz was handcuffed and brought by the armed men to a secluded area where he was stabbed four times. He did not reach the hospital alive.

Witnesses identified the suspects as NPA rebels, police added.

The NPA has not issued a statement on Baguiz’s killing yet.

Indigenous leader killed in Bukidnon

REPOST: Slain Umayamnon tribal leader Datu Benjamin Omao was the first ever selected to be the indigenous people’s mandatory representative in the history of the Malaybalay City Council.

As part of the preparations for legislation, he consulted mandatory representatives from the city’s 46 barangays in 2012 to arrive at an eight-point legislative agenda of the indigenous peoples in the city. Omao, an Umayamnon based in Miglamin village, said the eight points were “equally important” but the most crucial “at the moment” is for the IPs to build a strong indigenous political structure.

Omao was killed by six suspected CPP-NPA hitmen dressed in tribal dress in his office around 8:30 a.m. Monday while he was meeting a fellow IP mandatory representative from Aglayan village. Police report as of May 18 identified IP representative Thelma Sarento, 62, and Omao’s aide Samuel Talucdo, 48, who were with him in the meeting. Both were reported to be hurt in the incident – Sarento in her left hand and Talucdo in his right foot.

Omao died right away while the two injured were brought to the Malaybalay Polymedic General Hospital, police said.

Datu Richard Macas, IP mandatory representative to the Bukidnon provincial board, said Omao’s death leaves a vacuum in the city council. It will take some time for the city’s 46 IP mandatory representatives to convene and select his replacement.

In an interview after his selection in 2012, Omao said the IP mandatory representatives to the local legislative bodies are important for the local government so they can include the IP agenda. In coming out with the “Lumad agenda”, his office consulted IP leaders in their areas, including IPs who have become professionals, and the academe.

For the city, he had to present the final draft of the IP agenda to the city council. But for Omao, there was no need for city councilors to debate on it as it is the IPs’ agenda.

Omao said the political agenda covers the capability building needed for the tribal elders and leaders of the indigenous political structures and indigenous people’s organizations in accordance with policies provided by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

He said strengthening the IPs’ political systems is important, especially because Lumads are subjected to exploitation by political leaders.

“They divide the IP communities by choosing their own pet tribal leaders without recognizing those selected through traditional means,” Omao added in the interview at the Bukidnon Institute of Catechetic in Malaybalay City.

He said the timing was ripe then to strengthen the IPs’ political systems because of the then upcoming 2013 elections.

According to a copy of his legislative agenda, the political issues also include strengthening of the IP tribunal system in customary process of conflict transformation, enforcement of tribal jurisprudence and customary laws.

Thepigsaligans, or the mandatory representatives to the local councils, have to go through capacity-building, too, he added. The Lumad leader also pointed out the need to create a grievance council to help address IP concerns.

Among the basic component of the political agenda is to strengthen IP family relations through solemnization of tribal marriages, he added.

Omao said the promotion of welfare and well-being of IP communities is also a paramount agenda for IP leaders to push in local governance.

He cited nine target interventions in the agenda, including capability-building for entrepreneurial management, livelihood and development, promotions and marketing of IP products. The other interventions include indigenous crafts development, promotions and marketing; communal livelihood program; and livelihood programs for IP women.

Omao also included community-based eco-tourism program; sustainable and responsible use or extraction of natural resources in accordance with existing laws and guidelines of the state, and customs, traditions and policies of the Lumads.

The economic interventions cited agricultural practices such as promotion of natural farming techniques in agricultural production, sustainable propagation and production of indigenous crops, and establishment of farm and other vegetable products “landing area,” or what is called locally as “bagsakan.”

Omao said the bagsakan is foremost because local farmers are exploited as to the pricing of their produce in neighboring Cagayan de Oro City, where their products are brought from the farms.

His legislative agenda also covered integrity of the IP culture, access to quality education that does not endanger the integrity of the IP culture; the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the environment for a balanced ecology; secured ownership of ancestral domains and lands; access to basic services that are responsive to the needs and sensitive to the culture of the Lumads; and maintenance of peace and security in IP territories and communities.

He also pushed for the establishment of the IP college in Upper Pulangi area, the city’s remote district at its border with Agusan del Sur.

That year, in 2012, the province of Bukidnon was known to be the first in the country to have selected complete mandatory representatives at the municipal and city levels and a provincial representative in the person of Datu Salimbungan Mayda Pandian. Pandian died of illness last year.

Omao also tried to clarify his ancestors’ decision in relating to conquerors even as he said present day commemoration of the foundation of towns in Bukidnon lacked “sense of history” and understanding of the people who built the place as a settlement before colonizers arrived.

Omao said Datu Mampaalong, one of the better known heroes of the city, accepted Spanish rule because the Lumad “wanted peace to prevail in Malaybalay.”

He said it should not be viewed as a surrender of their heritage and identity.

“If there is no peace and order, there won’t be real progress, development,” he said.

Omao said the city government, too, should manifest its vision for the Lumad in the city, including how to promote respect of their culture and customary laws.

“Foremost, there has to be recognition of the Lumad’s ancestral domain,” he said, as the Lumad are the “owners” of Malaybalay.

The datu said the city government must help the Lumad restore their economic system, particularly the indigenous farming system as against the synthetic farming brought by outsiders.

Omao said the value of looking at history lies in its implications on the city’s present day peace and order situation.

One important lesson, he said, is to involve the indigenous way of settling disputes. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews contributor)

Some things worth noting on Kidapawan barricade

12439425_1271871382827424_4402677672214873332_nSome things worth noting on the barricade:
1. The participants seem to have been brought for the barricade through deception
PROOF: In Davao, none of the supposed rallyists were allowed to talk, only the leaders from progressive groups spoke. In Kidapawan, rallyists who escaped said that they were promised rice but were never told of a rally.

2. Their demands are unreasonable and unrealistic

PROOF: In Davao, they demanded the presence of national personalities. Their so called list of demands were unrealistic and was more of propaganda. In Kidapawan, they demanded the release of rice when there is a process that has to be followed

3. They have the fullest intention to disrupt normalcy and cause inconvenience to the general public.

PROOF: Why stage the protest on a National Highway and blocking it. In their statements they claim that the inconvenience they caused was nothing compared to the daily suffering of the lumads due to government neglect and militarizarion (Davao). No statement yet in Kidapawan but it seems that their plan is to really inconvenience everybody.


(REPOST via Kalumuran Mindanao)

Child dies, 2 hurt when NPA rebels attack Army post in North Cotabato


KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato — A child died while two others were hurt when New People’s Army rebels attacked a military detachment near a civilian-populated area in Barangay Kisante in Makilala, North Cotabato, on Thursday evening, the police said Friday.

PO1 Jeralyn Tavarro, officer on duty at the Makilala police, said an undetermined number of NPA rebels stormed the detachment of the 72nd Infantry Battalion in Sitio Alang-alang around 8 p.m.

The attack took place barely three days after the rebels celebrated their 47th anniversary.

Tavarro said the firefight lasted for 15 minutes, sending residents living at the back portion of the military camp scampering for safety.

She said a seven-month old baby, identified as Joylyn Dado, was killed when she was hit by a stray bullet in the middle of the encounter, during which, explosions also took place.

Two other minors, identified as Judith Darino, 17; and one-year old John Patrick Binoy, were hit by shrapnel and are now being treated at the Makilala Medical Specialist Center.

Tavarro said the rebels eventually retreated, without taking over the detachment.  SFM

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Apr 1)


7 hurt b

CAMP GUILLERMO NAKAR, Lucena City, Philippines – Five soldiers and two civilians were wounded in separate attacks believed perpetrated by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Bicol region over the weekend.

Four soldiers and two civilians were wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off yesterday morning in Camarines Norte.

The soldiers were traveling along the Mahawan-hawan Road in Labo town when their vehicle hit the IED at around 8:30 a.m.

The troopers were on their way to a market to buy supplies for their unit.

Wounded were Cpl. Reynaldo Rivera, and Pfcs Ricky Obina, Rodelio Urbano Jr. and Carlon Duriza. The names of the two civilians were not immediately available.

Meanwhile, 2/Lt. Jonathan Baay of the Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion was wounded when an IED exploded as he and his companions were engaging rebels in a firefight in Gubat, Sorsogon on Saturday.




Matanao, Davao del Sur – Combined troops of 39th Infantry Battalion and Matanao Municipal Police Station apprehended a high ranking leader and recovered the body of his companion who died during the firefight last Wednesday morning, March 16, 2016 at Barangay Buri, Matanao, Davao del Sur.

The apprehended leader, identified as Joan Casamorin alias Alvin is presently the vice-commander of Guerrilla 72 of the Far South Mindanao Regional Committee (FSMR) operating in the hinterlands of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. Alias Alvin is facing charges for robbery, kidnapping and serious Illegal Detention, four counts of murder and Robbery with Homicide.

The troops responded on information regarding the presence of armed men that resulted to a fire fight. The troops were able to recover one Cal. 45 pistol, ammunitions, three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the dead body of alias Jebjeb. Alias Alvin got wounded but was immediately rushed to a hospital for treatment while his companion’s dead body was brought to Angel Funeral Homes, Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

“The successful arrest of this NPA leader manifests the community’s strong desire for peace and security in the area. The people have grown tired of the deception and manipulation of the NPAs”, said Lieutenant Colonel Argamosa, 39IB commander.

Col Ronald Villanueva, commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade said that the apprehension of high ranking individuals within this month is a great loss to the New People’s Army (NPA). First, is the arrest of Ruditha Rosete Gaylawan alias Massi, Front Secretary of GF54 last March 8, 2016 in Calinan, Davao City and secondly, is the arrest of Joan Casamorin, Vice Commander of GF72 of FSMR, earlier today, “We would like to encourage the remaining members of the NPAs to abandon the armed struggle. They can live a normal life away from starvation and hardship by returning to the folds of the law for them to possibly receive assistance from the government agencies such as livelihood and immediate cash aids,” Col Villanueva conluded.

Source: 10th Infantry Agila Division Philippine Army