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May 12, 2008

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Resist Mining Plunder and State Terrorism! Stop Militarization in Tubo, Abra!


The Cordillera Peoples Alliance strongly condemns the grave human rights violations committed against the people of Pananuman, Tubtuba, Tubo, Abra province, by the Charlie Company of the 50th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, headed by Leiutenant Dalven Abdul Rashid Avila which has ruthlessly sown fear, terror and brutality in this indigenous peasant community south of Abra. The Maeng tribe populates Brgy. Tubutba. Tubo is an upland municipality of Abra adjacent to Mountain Province.

Month-long bloodshed
From March 12 to April 12, the said unit executed aerial bombings, strafing and set up and canons mortars directed towards the village, which was the probable cause of death of a 61-year old senior citizen; houses were illegally searched and ransacked, while properties were seized and stolen. Various forms of threats and intimidation were made against the villagers, who were not allowed to attend to their ricefields and farm animals. Irrational Curfews were set and enforced and the community was practically hamletted.

We condemn the arrogance and bastardization of the 50th IB, which even had the temerity to set camp in the dap-ay, the sacred and political center of the Maeng tribe where tribal and community issues are discussed and put into order. Maeng elders still play a significant role in the issues regarding community and tribal peace and order, as in other indigenous communities in the Cordillera. The 50th IB's fascist activities totally desecrated and insulted the dap-ay and its significance to the socio-political affairs of the indigenous community.

There is looming hunger and food insecurity in Pananuman, with the massive destruction of their ricefields and the death or forcible taking of the residents' farm animals. For an indigenous peasant community, the month-long militarization has cost them much, not being able to attend to their ricefields and farms. The military even butchered cows and chickens for their own consumption. After June, there will be nothing to tide them over until they are able to rehabilitate their ricefields, pasturelands and farmlands.

Tubo has in its record a history of ruthless militarization and mining plunder. During the 24th Cordillera Day which was held in the municipality of Baay Licuan in Abra last April 23-24, the Maeng gave an account of this in a kullilipan, which shows that as early as 1928, they were already resisting mining exploration, despite the increasing militarization that came with it as they strengthened opposition to the plunder of their ancestral land. A resolution was also signed by all 3,000 delegates of Cordillera Day 2008, calling for a stop to the militarization in Tubo.

Remembering Beew
Beew is a sitio of Bad-ayan and Alangtin in Tubo. From May 4 to 8 in 1983, the 623rd PC Company went on a bloody rampage, a killings spree in the barrios of Beew, Kili and Apatan. Nine persons were killed including a pregnant women and her unborn child. Men and women were beat up, young and old alike. Four houses were burned, rice granaries emptied, while properties were seized and destroyed. Fearing for lives, residents of Beew and nearby communites were forced evacuate with news that the soldiers would return, hiking with very little food for two days and two nights.

Refugees from Beew, Kilik Apatan, Ataki, Beew and Taleb settled in Mainit, Bontoc; Aguid in Sagada, and in Dandanac and Tamboan in Besao.

After Cordillera Day, the 41st IB has pulled out from Baay Licuan and is now occupied by the 50th IB, the same unit that wrought havoc in Tubo. Should human rights violations ensue in Baay Licuan, where community opposition is sustained against Canadian mining company Olympus Pacific Minerals, we will not think twice of holding the 50th IB accountable and responsible.

The brutalities of the military are etched in the stillness of the simple, peaceful communities of Tubo. We do not want another massacre, we will resist this ethnocide. The 50th IB, its commanding officer Avila, and the 503rd Infantry Brigade are all accountable, to include its Commander in Chief Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Stop militarization in the Cordillera countrysides!
Justice to the victims of human rights violations in Tubo!


Mr. Xavier Akien
Vice Chairperson for Internal Affairs

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