CEGP condemns staged surrender ceremony of the AFP to Lumads in Davao del Norte

The Philippine military pressured the ailing Datu Guibang Apoga to a “staged surrender ceremony” on June 9 in Sitio Nasilaban in Barangay Palma Gil. Guibang was forced to surface after decades of resisting arrest for his defense against logging and mining companies, due to his old age and ailing health.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines decries the military-perpetrated act of falsely declaring at least 150 Lumad residents in Nasilaban, Talaingod, Davao del Norte as surrenderees in a planned and staged ceremony on June 9.

According to a press release from Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, Alamara paramilitary forces and the 56th Infantry Battalion instigated a Lumad gathering in a poor attempt to spread false propaganda that Manobo tribal chieftain Datu Guibang Apoga has renounced their years-long fight in defending their ancestral domain.

“Datu Guibang Apoga spoke of his desire for the Lumad schools to continue to serve his people. Owing to his failing health and increasing age, he spoke of what he perceived as his inadequacies as the tribe’s tribal chieftain. Nowhere in his brief discourse did he speak of surrendering his conviction nor did he endorse the demise of his tribe and his people,” the press release said.

Lumads have resisted military operations from Alsa Lumad and Alamara since the late 1990s.

National minorities, particularly in Mindanao, faces deadly militarization and plunder of their ancestral lands.

“National minorities have long been neglected by the government yet they constantly face military abuses. Especially under martial law, their lands are at risk of being sold to imperialist countries and foreign corporations while their schools are also under attack and are even threatened to close down,” said Jose Mari Callueng, national president of the College Editors Guild of Philippines.

According to Save Our Schools-Mindanao there are 134 affected schools, 56 schools forcibly closed, 2,209 students affected by closure, 2,460 false/force surrender who are members of Parents Teachers Community Association, 30 cases of school encampment by the military and paramilitary groups, 9 school-related killings, 19 cases of destruction of school, 2,787 students affected by forcible evacuation and 15 teachers who are victims of trumped-up charges.

“Duterte is continuously heeding to the demands of capitalists to generate superprofit from the plunder of natural resources from our ancestral domains. His military minions can never fool the Filipino people for they are the state’s main machinery in helping Duterte brandish a reign of terror,” Callueng added.

With Duterte’s threat of a state of national emergency, more Filipinos will suffer not only from false and fake charges but also from vicious state-perpetrated attacks.

“Duterte is only digging his own grave with the relentless attacks against the Filipino people. His intensifying reign of terror will only lead to his regime’s downfall, especially now that the mass movement is increasing in strength and numbers,” Callueng ended.

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