1700 Displaced by Military Operations in Mindanao

What is affected
Housing private
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 13 July 2009
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Philippines
Location Lianga and San Agustin

Affected persons

Total 1700
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative Article found at: http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6709&Itemid=50
By MindaNews 22 July 2009

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 July) – Military operations in the towns of Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur have displaced at least 1,700 persons from 14 communities, including students and staff members of an alternative learning school for indigenous peoples, the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Diocese of Tandag reported.

The report said two battalions from the 36th and 58th brigades of the Philippine Army arrived in Lianga and San Agustin on July 13 and have been living inside the communities of Kilometer 16 and Han-ayan.
“In Kilometer 9, they are even staying inside people’s houses,” the report said.

Jerume Loquite, a teacher of the Alternative Learning System for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), was “prevented from bringing four sacks of rice to the ALCADEV students. The commanding officer at the Sammilia checkpoint, Col. Pedralves, told him that he did not believe that there were any students at the school.”

The report said villagers called for a dialogue with the military “to appeal for peace and to ask the military to leave the area.”

“But the military refused to leave. They said that they were part of a research team for peace and development that had come to evaluate communities for possible projects,” the SAC report said.
Because the soldiers did not leave, the villagers decided to leave, it said.

“Together with ALCADEV and TRIFPSS students and staff, they walked for seven hours from Han-ayan to the municipal gym in Lianga. They joined 48 families from the community of Logdeck, who have been displaced for a month as a result of military operations in their area,” it said.

The SAC said this is the “third time in five years that an evacuation has occurred,” after 2005 and 2007.

“Militarization is a perennial problem in the area. When soldiers enter a community and visit people’s houses, the people become too scared to farm. There is also forced recruitment of the lumads into bagani force as part of the province-wide Task Force Gantangan,” it said.

The report added that the displaced villagers “need food, and eventually, medicine, if the evacuation continues to last. Water supply is low and there is a lack of latrines. There are no beds and some people do not even have mats to lie on.” (MindaNews)
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