The wave of killings of indigenous peoples (IPs) in recent weeks signaled the launching by the Aquino administration of its own brand of terror against these minorities. The most recent massacre of a B’laan family in Datal-Ayong, Tampakan, South Cotabato last Oct. 18, raised to 30 the number of IPs in the Philippines who have fallen victim to extrajudicial killings during the two-and-a-half years of the Aquino presidency.
Juvy Capion, 27, who was two months pregnant, and her two children, Pop, 13, and Janjan, 8, were killed by elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army allegedly during an armed encounter. A 5-year-old daughter, Vicky, was wounded.
The children sustained fatal gunshot wounds in the body and head. The soldiers dragged their bodies outside their hut, and left them exposed for eight hours before they allowed Capion’s relatives to claim their bodies.
What was very alarming was that the killings did not discriminate—IP children and minors were not spared. To date we have monitored five cases of extrajudicial killings involving minors and children by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or by its paramilitary partners.
Rodilyn Aguirre, a 6-year-old Tumanduk, died on March 11, 2012 when an M203 grenade exploded a few meters from their home in Barangay Tacayan, Tapaz, Capiz. The grenade was launched by elements of the 61st IB. Aguirre’s 4-year-old sister was wounded.
On Sept. 4, 2012, 12-year-old Jordan Manda was slain when his father, Subanen leader Timuay Lucenio Manda, was ambushed in Bayog, Zamboanga del Norte.
Roland Malley, a 16-year-old Teruray, was mercilessly shot last Sept. 29, in Sitio Teruray, Barangay Telafas, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat by elements of the Alpha Company of the 27th IB during an alleged “raid” on New People’s Army guerillas.
The Capion children were the fourth and fifth children killed.
This merciless killing of members of the most vulnerable sectors of society—indigenous women and children—are inexcusable. This act of brutality reflects the mindset of the Aquino administration which allows this kind of violence to persist and go unpunished. It is a clear statement that the government is not about to tolerate any opposition to its anti-IP policies, programs and projects.
As the Aquino regime pursues an economic program anchored on foreign mining investments and development projects, it continues to wage its counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, which has resulted in what we have dreaded from the very beginning: heightened repression, intensified militarization, and an increased number of human rights violations committed against IPs.
These unabated killings and human rights abuses and the culture of impunity bring back dark shadows from the murderous Arroyo regime. We thus call on all IP advocates and concerned citizens to take an active stand against the killing of IPs. The wave of killing must stop. Now!
—REY A. PAULIN, Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo, firstname.lastname@example.org