State Terror and Broken Dreams of Lumads- Statement of the Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Community Learning Center
With heavy hearts we start this new year grieving over the killing of one of our students, and demand for justice in our communities.
We, the faculty members of Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC), strongly condemn the killing of Alibando Tingkas, committed by the AFP-backed paramilitary group in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, ALAMARA.
Alibando was 15 years old, lumad boy who dreamed of finishing his education not just for his family but of his tribe. Despite being overaged, he continued going to school, withstanding the poor living conditions and the latest threats in their ancestral domain. He even worked with his father in Compostela Valley when the school was threatened for closure. We remember him as a hardworking and committed boy, eager to reach his goals. But now, he will never be.
Last January 17 at 3 pm, while Alibando was walking with his brother and uncle from Sitio Laslasakan to their home in Sitio Bayabas, they were stopped by members of the paramilitary group Alamara. Shots were fired, two bullets hit Alibando in the chest and he died, while his companions ran back to Laslasakan to seek help.
The shots were heard by our teachers as the school was a few meters away from the incident. Members of the community were afraid but they bravely checked the incident and found Alibando soaked in blood. Classes were suspended later in Sitio Laslasakan, Sitio Nalubas and Sitio Panga-an of Brgy. Palma Gil and Sitio Pongpong of Barangay Dagohoy because of the of Alamara’s presence in these communities.
The two survivors recounted the incident to our teachers and identified two perpetrators as Joven Salangani and Ang-angoy Butanlog, members of the Alamara. Ang-angoy had earlier threatened our teachers because they were told to go after them.
We are saddened and angered by the inhumane killing of Alibando as this is a clear manifestation that the paramilitary groups backed by their military cohorts do not respect the children’s rights and welfare for they could just easily kill the life of an innocent child. Under the guise of counter-insurgency done by the vicious AFP and paramilitary groups, the teachers and students of the Salugpongan Community Learning Center are targets of these killings, harassments and other form of attacks.
We are outraged by the statement to the media of Lumansad Sibogan, a tribal council leader of Talaingod, who claimed Alibando is not a student but rather an NPA member. Sibogan shamelessly projects himself as a leader of the tribe yet fails to protect an innocent youth and the rest of the community members and teachers in Talaingod.
We believe that no child or lumad community should suffer from such terror. The Alamara and the AFP's presence hampers the dreams of every lumad in Talaingod and any other places to achieve education, literacy and protection of the indigenous culture and social practices and their right to ancestral land and right to self-determination.
We hereby urge the local government unit of Talaingod, Davao del Norte to act on this recent atrocity and other related incidents of attacks on the schools and community. We demand for an independent and genuine investigation on the killing of Alibando Tingkas perpetrated by Joven Salangani and the Alamara paramilitary group.
WE CONDEMN THE KILING OF ALIBANDO TINGKAS AND OTHER ATTACKS ON OUR SCHOOL. WE APPEAL TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OF TALAINGOD TO URGENTLY ACT ON THIS MATTER AND THAT JUSTICE BE SERVED!
Sgd. RONIE S. GARCIA
Basic Education Principal
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).