Paramilitary Rampage in Bukidnon kills Pregnant Woman, wounds 5 children and 2 others
Morning of July 30, 2016, a community of Tigwahanon tribe in Sitio Tibuwagan, Barangay Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon was strafed by eleven (11) elements of the 8th Infantry Battalion- Philippine Army (IBPA) and Alde ‘Butsoy’ Salusad, leader of the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR). The residents were at a wedding when Salusad and his companions indiscriminately fired at them. After the incident, all residents of Sitio Tibugawan and nearby communities were forced to evacuate and sought sanctuary in Brgy. Kawayan.
Please join us in condemning the rampage that claimed the life of one pregnant woman, and wounded five children and two farmers. The shooting occurred after the declaration of unilateral ceasefire by the Duterte government, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police. We demand an independent investigation on the shooting, and accountability of all those involved, particularly Salusad who already has a warrant of arrest.
Let us strengthen our call for just and lasting peace. For our Lumad brothers and sisters, this starts with the disbandment of paramilitary units, the pull-out of military troops in their communities and an end to the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.
The incident occurred on the morning of July 30, hours before President Duterte announced the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire. The rampage in Bukidnon is a manifestation that the paramilitary and military units disregarded the unilateral ceasefire announced by their own Commander-in-Chief. If this administration is truly serious in treading the path towards just peace, it must apprehend those accountable for the harassment and killings of the peasants and Lumad, disband paramilitary forces, pull-out military troops from Lumad communities and junk Oplan Bayanihan, a continuing program that resulted to rights abuses during the BS Aquino regime.
ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT
On July 29, 2016, Jiffy Tagnipis, a teacher of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) Literacy and Numeracy School, along with 10 students and 10 residents from Sitio Sel-angon, went on a 5-hour walk to sell their abaca product in Sitio Spring, Brgy. Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon. They then proceeded to Sitio Tibugawan and slept there for the night to attend the wedding of Olnie Bangonan and Misay Ban-ban to be held the next day.
During this time, there were already reports of uniformed armed elements from the 8th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) in Sitio Spring. It was later reported that on the morning of July 30, Brgy. Kawayan IP Mandatory Representative Datu Arnold Manhura met Alde “Butsoy” Salusad along the road in Sitio Spring. Along with eleven (11) armed men, Salusad was dressed in military camouflage and was fully armed. Two residents were with them, forced to guide the group. Manhura reported that he pleaded with Salusad not to proceed to Sitio Tibugawan as the appearance of fully armed men might disturb the wedding festivities. Salusad disregarded Manhura’s request.
At around 9 a.m. of July 30, 2016, immediately after the wedding, Tagnipis heard two gunshots which alarmed the whole community. A few seconds later, there was a spray of bullets. Armed men, led by Salusad, were seen on top of the hill overlooking the community. They fired at the whole community but concentrated at the house where around 80 individuals were gathered for the wedding. Makenet Gayoran was shot in the chest and died instantly. She was 6-months pregnant and carrying her 9-months old baby. The shooting lasted for 10 minutes.
After the shooting stopped, Tagnipis gathered the wounded residents and assisted in bringing them to Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. The shooting wounded 5 children, all students of the RMP-NMR Literacy and Numeracy School. Myrene Dumala, 15, was hit on the right sole of her feet; Mary Anne Tagabilog, 15, was hit on her left arm; Aroto Balagbag, an 8 year old boy, was hit on his right calf; Mike Balagbag, 7 years old, was also hit on his calf; Che-che Bangonan, 16, was also wounded. Two farmers, Kambo Bangonan and Boras Sedong, were also wounded in the incident.
The shooting prompted all 48 families from Sitio Tibugawan to evacuate. Residents from nearby communities, including 110 families from Sitio Alimpolos, Barangay Kawayan, 70 families from Brgy. Mabuhay and 200 families from Brgy. Salumayad, all in San Fernando, have also evacuated. Fearing Salusad and his men, families fled and evacuated to a covered court in Barangay Kawayan. They were not able to bring anything with them. As of this writing, said communities are still in the Brgy. Kawayan covered court.
The community has been receiving threats from Alde ‘Butsoy’ Salusad months before the incident. Salusad threatened to punish the community if Datu Jeffry “Jimboy” Mandagit does not surrender. Datu Jimboy Mandaguit is the chairman of Kaogalingong Sistema Igpapasindog tu Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO) and the Tribal Datu of Sitio Tibugawan, Brgy. Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon. Datu Mandagit, alleges Salusad, is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA). Datu Mandagit was among the leaders who accompanied the Tigwahanon families that evacuated to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Haran in Davao City a year ago due to intensive military operations in their communities.
Salusad and NIPAR, backed by the 8th IBPA, were responsible for the killing of Dao Brgy. Captain Jimmy Liguyon on March 5, 2012. Liguyon firmly opposed illegal mining activities in his barangay. Despite death threats from NIPAR and San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus, he declined to sign the Free, Prior and Informed Consent agreement to allow the entry of mining companies. On March 20, 2012, NIPAR openly admitted to having killed Liguyon, in a statement read over the dxDB, a local radio station. Despite an April 2012 warrant of arrest issued against Alde and his father Benjamin, they remain free, terrorizing communities in Bukidnon.
The Salusads and the 8th IBPA are also responsible for the killings of Abundio Mantugohon (January 11, 2012), Datu Erning Mantugohon (October 10, 2012), Mabini “Toto” Manobia and Zaldy Ambayot (October 17, 2013). Benjamin Salusad is a regular member of the 8th and 68th IBPA, and thus enjoys the military’s protection.
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
1. The immediate investigation of the incident to be conducted by an independent body;
2. The immediate pullout of 8th IBPA and NIPAR paramilitary forces from Lumad communities in San Fernando, Bukidnon;
3. The disbandment of all paramilitary forces, including NIPAR;
4. The immediate arrest of Alde Salusad and father, Benjamin, and all NIPAR members and 8th IBPA personnel;
5. An end to the killings and continued harassment and intimidation of Lumad communities;
6. The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians;
7. The Philippine Government to adhere and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments that is a party and signatory.
You may send your communications to:
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
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Hon. Jesus Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
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Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
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Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense
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E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
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Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre
Secretary, Department of Justice
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Trunkline: 523-84-81 loc.214
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Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
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Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below:
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