A DISPLACED family wanted the military to pay the damage of the house destroyed during military operations in Sitio Mincamansi, Banglay village, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental.
Vilma Compas, one of the 180 evacuees who have camped out at the Dela Park in Capitol grounds for over a week, said it could have been the military responsible for the damage since soldiers have stayed in their village and not the New People’s Army (NPA) when they evacuated the area.
“Kung malooy sila amo na lang pabayran sa sundalo. Ang mga sundalo gyud ang responsable kay wala man mi kakita og NPA dihang nibakwit mi (If they pity us then we would like to have the army pay for the damages. The soldiers are the ones responsible since we haven’t seen any NPA rebels when we evacuated),” Compas said.
Compas, a mother of 10 children, is also asking the Provincial Government for construction materials so they can rebuild their house.
“Hangyo pud mi sa kapitolyo bisan og lansang, kahoy ug atop na lang para makatukod mi balik sa balay (We would also like to request for help from the Capitol, even some nails, wood and roof just so we can build a house),” Compas added.
The Fact Finding Team (FFT), who surveyed the area over the weekend, discovered the destroyed house of Compas.
Garin Ayuma, another evacuee who went with the FFT, showed some splinters from unknown guns.
Ayuma also said they have discovered dead animals and damaged crops in their community.
He added that the area is already free from the presence of both the government soldiers and the communist rebels.
“Pag-abot namo sa area wala nami nakita nga sundalo og NPA pero nakita namo ang totally damage nga balay ni Compas ug naay mga nakataga nga butang sa Purok Tapol. Naa pud patay nga kanding ug mga tanom nga giakon tingali sa mga mananap (When we arrived, we didn’t see any soldiers or NPA rebels in the area but we saw the destroyed house of Compas and damages in Purok Tapol. There were also dead goat and damaged crops),” Garin said.
Sariza Acosta, the evacuees' spokesperson, said they wanted a memorandum of understanding signed by the military, local and capitol officials to prevent the military from setting camp and building detachments in their community.
Acosta said soldiers should pursue the rebels in the mountains without staying longer in their village which caused them alarm and fear.
“Dili rason nga moadto sila sa among lugar kay dunay NPA kay kung duna pay NPA ngano diha man sila sa mga balay magpondo nganong wala nila gikuha ang mga NPA dapat didto sila sa kabukiran mangita sa NPA kay wala masukad nagpondo ang mga NPA sa among mga balay (It’s not a good reason that the soldiers will go to our place because there’s a presence of NPA since if there really are NPA rebels, why did the soldiers stayed in the houses without doing anything? Why didn’t they pursue the NPA rebels? They should go look for the rebels in the mountains since there wasn’t any time when the NPA stayed in our houses),” Acosta said.
Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano said the capitol is willing to sign the document with the Indigenous Peoples and the Banglay villagers but said he will not meddle with the military decisions and activities.
“Kami we (The capitol) will sign anytime with the lumads and Banglay residents. Sa PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) bahala na sila unsa ilang huna-huna dili ko manghilabot (We will let the PNP and AFP decided what to do since we do not want to get involved),” Emano said.
Emano added that they will not request the military for anything since they will only just be seen as suspicious.
The Misamis Oriental governor said the military should handle the situation and address the damages caused by the combat operations in the said community.
But, Emano said the capitol will provide the evacuees with needed assistance for the refugees to start anew.
“Ihatag na namo na nga problema sa military kay sila man nakig-gubat sa mga NPA (We will have the military take care of it since they were the ones in a conflict with the NPA). Before, I've been active in helping them (military) but with what they did to me and the people of the province, sila na maningkamot pag-areglar kay kami sa kapitolyo maningkamot mi sa among mahatag sa mga bakwit (they are the ones who will have to tend to it since we in the capitol are doing our best in giving assistance to the evacuees),” Emano said.
Emano assured the capitol will give agricultural equipment, seedlings and other aids for the evacuees when they return home.
Fernando Dy Jr., Chief of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the 37 lumad families performed a ritual last night before returning home today, April 11,
Dy also said few provisions of the memorandum of understanding will have to be ironed out before the capitol officials sign the document.