Group slams alleged military ‘harassment’ of lumad leader


By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:33:00 08/21/2008

MANILA, Philippines — A coalition of indigenous people’s groups condemned the harassment of a tribal leader in Mindanao lumad, whose face and name have appeared on posters branding him a rebel leader who is “wanted dead or alive,” which have allegedly been circulated by government troops.

In a statement on Thursday, the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP, Federation of Indigenous People of the Philippines), said the posters that have appeared in villages, bus terminals and business establishments brand Kerlan Fanagel, a leader of the B’laan tribe in Davao del Sur, a commander of the New People’s Army who supposedly uses the alias Commander Lala.

“This kind of harassment is done [against] the indigenous leader and organization that stood against the destructive economic policy of this regime [of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] and their rampant disregard [for] human rights,” Himpad Mangumalas, KAMP spokesperson, said in the statement.

Mangumalas said the harassment Fanagel is going through is similar to what is allegedly happening in other regions where there are strong protests against mining and ecotourism, which many indigenous people see as a threat to the environment and their way of life.

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My Take:

He’s right.

This item brings back my memories of Iloilo’s struggle against the coal-fired power plant.  The group RISE was tagged then by a local military spokesperson (Lowen Gil Marquez) as terrorists

Until now, they are mouthing the red-baiting remarks everytime they are unable to parry the scientific explanations of the anti-coal groups with their own scientific explanation.

Hope the military should reprimand this spokesperson of theirs.

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