Military looking into reports Lumads threatened by NPAs

November 25, 2012 5:16 am 

MANILA, Nov. 24 – The Army's 10th Infantry Division is looking into reports 17 Lumad families were forced to evacuate from their homes in Barangay Maralog, Davao City after being threatened by New People's Army groups operating there.

The tribesmen were reportedly forced out of the locality by the rebels planning to use the Lumad village as a staging point for their 44th founding anniversary celebrations Dec. 27, military sources in Manila said.

Datu Tresio Lumuyok, Matigsalog tribe chief, said residents have abandoned their houses in Purok 26, Sitio Alon, Barangay Malabog and seek refuge in Barangay Marilog since Nov. 6, the sources said.

He added that he decided to move his tribe to a safer place after Leoncio Pitao, head of NPAs operating in the hinterlands of Paquibato, threatened and forced them to take part in rallies and demonstrations in protest to the presence of government troops in the area.

Lumuyok stated that residents were suspected as military informants scouting the whereabouts of the notorious group after several encounters transpired in the area.

“Pitao said that we are feeding information to soldiers about their presence and that we betrayed their group. Because of that we are scared of going back to our village,” the sources quoted one of the evacuees as saying.

“We see how the NPAs jeopardize the safety of these families who are living peacefully in the area,” 84th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Edgar Nigos said.

The said latter is a sub-unit of the 10th Infantry Division.

He said the incident is a wake-up call for everybody to denounce the presence of the rebels in the area instead of the military.

“It is our mandate to protect the people and not to harm them. That’s why we would like to encourage everyone specially the government leaders to condemn the presence of the NPAs so that we can all live peacefully," Nigos stated. (PNA)

HBC/PFN

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