More than 700 residents of Sitio Sta. Rita and Sitio San Roque in Barangay Sinanglanan, Malaybalay City have left their homes last May 14 amid intense military operations being conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in their community.
Around 150 families brought along with them their horses, carabaos, cows, pigs, goats and dogs and sought shelter in nearby Sitio Malapgap.
According to local reports, the residents fear that their sitio will be treated by the AFP as “no man’s land.” They are afraid that the AFP will drop bombs and missiles and fire artillery shells near their community, as other communities have experienced in the past several months.
Combat troops have been going around their village and intimidating local residents. The residents said they are being prevented by soldiers from working in their fields and mountain farms purportedly because of the Covid-19 lockdown. The peasants are demanding that they be allowed to work in their farms especially since the rains have started to come.
Barangay Sinanglanan is part of the are being covered by military operations conducted by the AFP’s 88th, 8th, 60th and 56th IB in at least three towns in Bukidnon resulting in widespread abuses against the peasant and Lumad masses. More than 290 soldiers are currently scouring the Barangays Manalog, Kibalabag, Kulaman, Apo Macote and Sinanglanan in Malaybalay City.
Last May 18, AFP combat troops rounded up more than 100 residents of Sitio Balaas and Sitio Airburn in Barangay Mabuhay, and Sitio Nabangkal, Barangay Magkalungay in San Fernando, Bukidnon. They are being accused of being members of the NPA. They remain detained in the 88th IB headquarters in Maramag, Bukidnon.