TRINIDAD, Bohol – “To conduct a house inquiry in aid of legislation to investigate the involvement of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, 2nd Special Forces Battalion and 7th regional Public Safety Battalion in the harassments, vilification, and attacks against HUMABOL, FARDEC and other pro-people organizations in Bohol,” is one of the recommendations endorsed to Congress by International Fact-Finding Mission (IFFM) that concluded yesterday.
IFFM conducted the fact-finding to ferret out justice and truth on the alleged on-going conflict between the barangay residents and the Trinidad and Talibon Integrated Farmers Association (TTIFA), an affiliate of militant Hugpong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon HUMABOL, particularly the establishment of a military camp, Danilo Olayvar said in an exclusive interview during the visit of IFFM.
Olayvar said that the counter-insurgency singling out their groups runs counter to the announcement of the provincial government and the military that Bohol is insurgency-free province that the Chatto administration is bragging about.
IFFM also is set to bring to the attention to Congress “To conduct an inquiry on the human rights violations committed by local offices of Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in supporting and recommending the illegal military camp in Baragay San Vicente, in the municipality of Trinidad, Bohol.”
It also found that farmers remain landless thus it also urged Congress to enact and pass House Bill 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that “seeks to break the monopoly of lands of big landlords.”
The move did not end there, even as it also asked the international community to pressure the Philippine government to look into the series of attacks against members of farmers group HUMABOL and its allied organizations and institution.
On the establishment of military detachment, “The Department of Agrarian Reform categorically implied that the establishment of the army camp in barangay San Vicente in Trinidad town is legal and valid despite it being in an agricultural land,” Grace Fua, the provincial agrarian reform officer of DAR Bohol, was quoted as saying in a Capitol press release written by one Junelle Ugay.
“Fua said that the army camp, located at Purok 7 in San Vicente, lies within the land under Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government. And since the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is among the agencies that implement the CARP, and if putting up an army detachment in the area is in relation to the implementation of the program, then allocating a portion of the land for this has strong basis, said Fua. This is in accordance to the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 05-02 of the DAR-DILG-DND,” the PR said.
An International Fact-Finding Mission has been launched by the solidarity groups, including the Asian Peasants Coalition, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, to find the real score of the farmers situation in Bohol.
The mission dubbed as “Asserting and Defending Bohol Farmers’ Initiatives and Victories in Their Struggle for Land and Human Rights.”
Among the key leaders of the of the mission is former party-list representative Rafael Mariano, chairman, KMP and Japanese, Indonesian and Sri-Lankan representatives who arrived yesterday.
“Assertion and defense of Hugpong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL) political and economic gains as a result of their long history of collective and empowered struggle for land and human rights” is the general objective.
Specific objectives of the mission include: assertion of a just and legitimate struggles of the people of Boho for land rights protection and food security; assertion and defense of the legitimacy of sitio Panaghiusa Rice Mill in TTIFA and other services rendered by legitimate instutitions; expose and oppose the militarization and vilification sown by military and Gov. Chatto’s Purok Power Movement against HUMABOL leaders and organizers including the FARDEC, CERNET and VPHS officers and staff, as a continuing attempts to destroy legitimate people’s organizations and NGOs, Mariano said.
Expose and resist the use of agrarian reform areas for the military encampment and military purposes at a time when the CARPER has expired; and mobilize well-meaning and humanitarian government officials, church people, other civil society organizations for the welfare of the Boholano farmers’ and support food security initiatives and basic services as human rights, he said.
The visit of the mission is coincidental with 43rd year since martial law declaration on Septembr 21 1972.
The group paid courtesy calls to government officials in the city and province and Bishop Leonardo Medroso and ocular visit of the area in Trinidad town, where the military encampment is located.
The group conducted interviews of the farmers’ affected by the military encampment, assessment and data processing will follow. The following day a press conference will be called in Cebu city to present the mission findings in the province.
KMP National chairperson | APC Chairperson Rafael Mariano; APC Southeast Asian Coordinator Zenaida Soriano; Raja Mujeeb, PKMT ; Danilo Olayvar, Chairperson HUMABOL; Board Estrella Catarata, FARDEC, Inc./ Executive Director of PNFSP; Roy Rodrigo, MONLAR; Patrick Torres, FARDEC, Inc executive director; Hosue Hatae Friends of the Earth – JAPAN composed the IFFM. (rvo)