Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said the Department through its Field Office-X is actively monitoring the case of some 380 families from San Fernando, Bukidnon who have been forced to evacuate because of a spate of killings allegedly in retaliation of two parties involved as part of a “tribe” tradition known as “Maggahat”.
According to reports on the ground, a paramilitary group associated with the 8th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army went on a shooting rampage during a wedding celebration in Sitio Tibugawan, Brgy. Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon last weekend.
They killed a pregnant woman and wounded seven villagers who were all beneficiaries of the DSWD’s 4Ps and Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program (MCCT).
In a report by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines- Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR), the incident happened the morning of July 30—while a unilateral ceasefire declared by the government against the New People’s Army was still in effect
Based on initial reports, around 110 families from Sitio Alimpolos, Barangay Kawayan, 70 families from Brgy. Mabuhay and 200 families from Brgy. Salumayad, all in San Fernando have been evacuated.
Around 80 Lumads were gathered in the house that was strafed. The pregnant woman, Makinit Gayoran was killed when she was hit by a bullet on her chest. Seven–including three teenagers, an 8-year old, and a 7-year old—were brought to the hospital for injuries
It was also reported that 29 people including children, stayed overnight at the house for the wedding celebration. At around 8 to 9 a.m., 12 armed men dressed in military camouflage from around 50 meters away started shooting.
The LGU of San Fernando earlier provided 10 bags of rice, five boxes of sardines, five boxes of noodles, and one sack of mongo beans.
“The DSWD-FO X staff are on the ground conducting validation in coordination with the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office (PSWDO) of Bukidnon . DSWD- FO X is ready to provide augmentation support pending the results of their assessment,” said Sec. Taguiwalo.
As of this writing, the Field Office has endorsed the immediate release of 200 cartons of ready-to-eat food, 1600 food packs, 370 sleeping mats, 760 blankets, and 300 malong.
“Our aim is to be able to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Lumads, particularly the more vulnerable members like the women, children, and the elderly,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.
“Even as we prepare for more comprehensive actions to help the Lumads return to their ancestral lands, we must attend to their immediate needs to be safe and provided for. Needless to say, it is also urgent that military/paramilitary operations stop so that Lumads can return safely to their communities,” the Secretary concluded.