The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you about the harassment and killings perpetrated allegedly by the 68th and 73rd Infantry Battalions of the Philippines Army, and paramilitary groups attached to them, in Mindanao. In the first case one person was killed as retaliation for the killing of the kin of leaders of a paramilitary group. In another instance, community schools were disrupted and used as military camps. Lastly, soldiers enforced a food blockade on certain villages.
CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights (KARAPATAN))
CASE 1: “Siblings attached to military sow terror in the village”
On 28 March 2015, Frenie Landasan, chairperson of Dalacutan-Higaonon Tribal Association was killed at Purok 3 baangay (village) Dalacutan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon. Frenie was the cousin of the De la Mance brothers, who were involved in the killing, as retaliation for the death of their kin Dorlito de la Mance.
The de la Mance brothers Dante, Romulo, Dominador and Haiward are known leaders of an armed group attached to the Philippines Army. They are also responsible for the attempted killing of Rosella Cahanggan, her nephew and her three children, including a baby. The Cahanggan family were hiking along the provincial road in Malaybalay, when they were ambushed by the de la Mances. Rosella’s nephew was hit by a bullet on the right shoulder.
On 8 June 2015, around 20 families or some 200 individuals evacuated their village and went to the Provincial Capitol of Malaybalay, Bukidnon due to the series of killings, attempted killings, continuous threat and harassment faced by their community.
CASE 2: “Indigenous schools were use as camps”
The alternative learning schools of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center or Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land (STTICLC) have been used as military camps of the 68th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA).
The 68th IBPA tagged the STTILC as an “NPA school”. They also threatened to kill the Salugpungan teachers. They lobbied the Department of Education to close down the Lumad learning centers and open a similar alternative school to be operated by the military.
The presence of the army and its paramilitary groups led to the evacuation of the Ata-Manobo families from Kapalong and Talaingod, Davao del Norte to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
For the Lumad, the establishment of the Salugpungan alternative learning schools is a priceless gift of education for the next generation, which the elders never had. These schools bear their hope to uplift their lives away from poverty and illiteracy. The schools teach the children to read, write, count, analyze, criticize, and fight in defense of their tribe and their land.
CASE 3: “Civilian community under military restrictions”
On 30 March 2015 at 6 a.m., soldiers of the 73rd Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) forcibly entered civilian homes in Malapatan, Sarangani for refuge. At 1 p.m. the soldiers started firing indiscriminately despite being in a populated area.
At 4 p.m., eight bombs were dropped on a nearby village, and soldiers fired machine guns four times. Crops, animals, and the community’s source of water were destroyed by the bombing.
On 5 April 2015, the military enforced a food blockade in 10 villages in Saranggani. The residents were only allowed to buy less than a kilo of rice daily. If they exceeded the allowed quantity, the residents were accused of supplying food to the rebel New People’s Army.
Please write letters to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about the following cases.
The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education.
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER
PHILIPPINES: Constant harassment and violence due to military presence in Mindanao
Name of the victims:
1. Frenie Landasan, chairperson of Dalacutan-Higaonon Tribal Association
2. Rosella Cahanggan
3. Rosella’s nephew and
4. Three minor children, including a baby.
Alleged Perpetrators: Dante, Romulo, Dominador and Haiward de la Mance, known leaders of an armed group attached to the Philippine Army.
Date of incident: 28 March 2015
Place of incident: Cabanglasan and Malaybalay, Bukidnon
Affected victims: Lumad students studying at Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center or Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land (STTICLC)
Alleged Perpetrators: Soldiers under 68th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA)
Date of incident: 15 May 2015
Place of incident: Teachers’ Center building
Affected victims: 10 villages in Sarangani
Alleged Perpetrators: soldiers attached to 73rd Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA)
Date of incident:
1. 30 March 2015
2. 5 April 2015
Place of incident: Malapatan, Saranggani
I am writing to express my concern regarding the violence and harassment perpetrated allegedly by the military presence in Mindanao.
In one incident, the de la Mance armed group attached to the Philippine Army, allegedly killed Frenie Landasan, chairperson of Dalacutan-Higaonon Tribal Association on 28 March 2015 at Cabanglasan, Bukidnon. The armed group is also responsible for the attempted killing of Rosella Cahanggan and her family.
In another incident, the alternative learning schools Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon of the Community Learning Center or Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land (STTICLC) have been used as military camps of the 68th Infantry Battalion. The school was tagged as belonging to the rebel New People’s Army.
Lastly, the soldiers of the 73rd Infantry Battalion forcibly entered the homes of civilians, fired indiscriminately and restricted the food to be purchased by residents of Malapatan, Saanggani.
I urge you to investigate all these cases thoroughly, and hold all those responsible for human rights violations accountable. I further urge you to immediately ensure that no schools are used for military purposes or disturbed in any way. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety and security of civilian communities, and to ensure that they are compensated from any loss suffered by the actions of state agents.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
2. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
3. Police Director Ricardo Marquez
Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame,
Fax +632 7248763
4. Ms. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
5. Bro. Armin A. Luistro FSC
Department of Education
DepEd Complex, Meralco Ave.,
Pasig City, Metro Manila
Fax: + 63 2 636-4876
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)