ILOILO – The NTF-ELCAC is now forcing the Tumandoks (Indigenous Peoples) to sign a declaration stating the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona-non-grata.
According to Barangay Captain Jobelyn Giganto of Barangay Lahug, Tapaz, Capiz, they have been visited or summoned, several times already, by members of the NTF-ELCAC and the military to force to them to declare the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata in their barangay.
Barangay Lahug is the only remaining barangay in the municipality of Tapaz who have not signed nor agreed in the said declaration.
According to Captain Giganto, they have no bases to work it out. If they have to ban somebody from entering their community, it should be the members of the military and the NTF-ELCAC who have been spreading fear and panic among the people since they entered the village in June.
The council and the people have presented the problem to Mayor Roberto Palomar of Tapaz but the Mayor himself also forced them to sign the declaration.
The people were disappointed with the Mayor’s reaction, who they thought would defend their rights even more as the military pressures them.
According to the threats of the military, they may increase their forces in the community or replace their forces with even more violent groups, however, the Tumandoks are firm with their stand to defend their rights and be free from the dictates of the military and the NTF-ELCAC.
In Tacayan, also in Tapaz, the military took control of the Barangay Council and ordered the people to move their houses either near the barangay center or the road. They were only given until December to move and the Tumandoks view that it will have an intense impact on their farming.
Many leaders of the Tumandok organization have been summoned and interrogated by the military several times already.
The victims sought refuge in the office of the Commission on Human Rights last week to seek assistance for the ongoing military harassment in their community./PT