An Indigenous people group has branded as “publicity stunt” the alleged escape of lumad bakwits from the UCCP Haran in Fr. Selga, Barangar 8-A Poblacion.
In its official Facebook page, the Pasaka reported that they are on alert as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its militia group Alamara “will stage another PR stunt of ‘escape’ which they done last weekend.”
Pasaka, a confederation of Lumad organizations, clarified the “escape” story and claimed the Alamara manipulated the story.
“It has been our stand as Lumad bakwit here in Haran to allow Lumad families to go home. We recognize the right of every Lumad and we do not refuse such request,” the group said
“However, last Saturday, leaders of the Alamara from Kapalong Datu Basing Balanban, Dol-om Tumagsa, Jovelyn Tiklunay, arrived with plainclothes soldiers, and forcibly made some families leave Haran over the wall,” the Pasaka statement said.
On Sunday, they said Awing Apoga, another Alamara leader from Talaingod, came over and called out the leaders and the bakwet to return to the communities. Apoga warned that more Alamara leaders will come in the next few days.
“Even if we want to go home, we are alarmed at how the Alamara, the military, and the state are forcing us to do so,” the group said in a statement. “Even if we want to return to our communities, would there be peace if the Alamara and the military will continue to harass us? This is the very reason why we evacuated from our communities.”
In the past four years, the Pasaka said they “experienced how they harassed and killed our fellow Lumad and students, how they intimidated our students and teachers, how they forced Lumad to surrender and recruit them into the Alamara.”
“This manipulation cannot cover the root of our displacement, that they want are making way for the plunder of our ancestral land and resources for large-scale mining, plantations, etc…” the group said.
Pasaka called for the government “to stop militarization in our communities… to end Martial Law that has been the reason why the military is placing our communities in a garrison, and disband the Alamara which has divided our communities.”