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PIA Press Release
2008/02/13

DavNor gov denies militarization in Talaingod

by Noel Baguio

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte (13 February) -- Gov. Rodolfo P. Del Rosario vehemently denied the alleged militarization in Talaingod town that has caused the enforced evacuation of Ata-Manobo families.

"There's no such thing as militarization in Talaingod right now," Del Rosario told the media at a press conference during the recent Local Peace and Security Assembly at the Bulwagan ng Lalawigan in Mankilam, here.

Citing official reports from the local government unit of Talaingod, the governor said some members of the Ata-Manobo tribe moved away to avoid getting caught in the crossfire during military operations, "but have already returned to their normal day to day undertakings" after the situation has stabilized.

Del Rosario reacted to some reports published in the local media condemning the alleged massive military operations being conducted by the 73rd Infantry Battalion in the hinterlands of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, which has purportedly displaced scores of lumad families.

The cause-oriented PASAKA, a confederation of lumad groups in Southern Mindanao released a statement condemning the counter-insurgency operations of government troops that have sown terror in at least 17 villages in Talaingod. It cited reports from the Salupongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, which is a local Lumad organization in Talaingod, detailing the human rights violations and atrocities committed by the military.

However, Governor Del Rosario stood by the report of the LGU of Talaingod that there is really no militarization that happened and that the movement of the tribal families is attributed to their traditional seasonal farming, where they move to a common place to conduct worship and rituals.

The LGU is now conducting a deeper investigation into the alleged abuses by some military personnel.

Despite the conflicting accounts of the military, the LGU of Talaingod and that of the non-government organization, the government still contemplated the distribution of relief goods to the affected communities.

Joining the governor at the said press briefing during the LPSA was National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, ComVal Governor Arthuy Uy, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Cardozo M. Luna, and OPAPP Undersecretary Nabil Tan. (IDD-PIA XI) [top]

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