by Ben Serrano
July 30, 2009
In a press release by 58th IB signed by their commanding officer Lt. Col, Benjamen Petralvez said that his men conducting â€œCommunity Works for Peace and Developmentâ€ at Barangay San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur uncovered plot to burn houses at Purok 5 in said barangay.
â€œLast July 26, at around 9:35 a.m. in Purok 5, Barangay San Isidro, my men uncovered plot by NPA rebels to burn houses left by Manobo tribesmen and blamed the burning to us if it succeededâ€, Petralvez in a mobile phone interview said.
Petralvez claimed the NPA through the help of their NGO fronts have been instigating to evacuate their communities to avoid any contact with government agencies.
â€œThis only manifest that the CPP/NPA/NDF do no want peace and development and continue to terrorize the local folksâ€ Petralvez said.
But Fr, Virgilio Amihan of Promotion for Church Peopleâ€™s Response and Sister Lydia Lascano, Directress for Diccese of Tandag Social Action Center the militaryâ€™s allegations that the NGOs are instigating lumad through hakot or hauling system are all false of full of lies.
Fr. Amihan said the time the lumad have evacuated, the NGOs were the last to be informed as the lumads have already started to walk, brought along with them their little children and whatever food, clothing they can bring to Lianga town Gym.
â€œIn the past 2005, 2007 evacuations, they themselves are the ones personally evacuating after they sense they will be caught in crossfire in the military and NPA fightingâ€, Fr. Amihan said.
â€œThey are simple ordinary folks who have no ambitions or qualms in life all they wanted is peace and freedom, whereby they can plant, fish and harvest freely without both the NPA and the military in their livesâ€ Fr. Amihan continued.
Sister Lydia Lascano, on the other hand, claimed Petralvez menâ€™s claiming they save houses of lumads because they will be burn by NPA rebels were all mere propaganda.
â€œThey are making themselves saviors kuno, it is highest form of deceit by masters of deceitsâ€, Sister Lascano said.
Meanwhile, some 1,000 lumad evacuees have started this late afternoon to march in major thoroughfares of Tandag to dramatize their demands to government to help them remove militarization in their lands.
The marchers-protesters said they will end up at the provincial capitol this afternoon to ask Governor Pimentelâ€™s help.
They claimed the Pimentels allegedly owned some of the biggest mining and logging firms in the province, â€œmaybe they can now help usâ€ , they say as without elaborating further.