Around 52 families composed of 251 individuals have just now returned to their homes in Sitio Camansi, Banglay, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental after more than a week of evacuating in the provincial capitol since June 4, 2015. They are terrorized beyond measure because they personally experienced the gun-pointing, house-burning and shelling after operating troops of the AFP suffered defeat in a succession of armed encounters with the NPA. As always, they vented their ire on the civilians.
The AFP has repeatedly been launching military operations in the area to undermine the will of the masses who are opposed to the entry of mining interests and the plan to use the area as a power source for the town and neighboring sitios. They have long opposed this plan, which will destroy their livelihood, their homes and their treasured sacred areas, Kabisera, Lambanawa, Karikloman, Kabaiyan and Karatuan, which are all located on Mt. Balatucan. To all Northern Mindanao tribes, Kabisera is the resting place of their ancestors and relatives.
Contrary to the military’s claim that they are in the area to defend the inhabitants, they have violated the culture and traditions of the Lumads – the area was shelled, the house of the tribal datu was burnt, their community was strafed and the burial of a suspected NPA member was desecrated and the bones were brought to the city.
With these blatant violations of the rights of the Lumads, we have long been in solidarity with their struggle for the recognition and respect for their right to self-determination. Countless Lumads have offered their lives for this cause. All revolutionaries and those who have humanitarian empathy must support the inhabitants of Lagonglong as part of the people they serve.