Government neglect and AFP’s inhumaneness in the time of calamity

It has been two months from the time when a contagious disease begin to spread rapidly in several Lumad communities in Upper Suyan village, Malapatan town in Sarangani Province. Local civilian organizations confirmed that towards the end of November, at least 22 B’laan residents have died due to its complications. A large number of those who are infected as well as the fatalities are children. Reports said that the disease has measles-like symptoms. The communities affected by the epidemic are Datal Nay, Upper Kiogam, Lower Kiogam, Dlumay, Alna, Maybaka, Mahayag, Glandang, Matsuli ang Upper Kihan, all located in the Upper Suyan village.

The NPA unit operating in the area eventually act when the epidemic arise by rendering medical services and assisting the residents. The Party committee formally informed the Upper Suyan barangay council, the LGU-Malapatan and the provincial government of Sarangani regarding the malady and suggested that the local government must inspect the affected areas and conduct a medical mission. But the local government failed to make immediate actions.

When the medical mission was finally organized, the LGU decided that it will be conducted in areas close to the barangay center only. The difficulties of the patients to get into the place for treatment were not considered, and it dishonestly claimed that there is no traversable road leading into the affected areas. The LGU also insisted on taking military escorts to the medical mission.

The NPA considered the conditions as calamitous and it decisively carried out humanitarian duties. While the reactionary government has not made any pronouncement on the state of the area, the 73rd IB-AFP furtively resumes its offensive operations. A day before the start of the medical mission, AFP combat troops arrive in Lino, Mahayag ang Maybaka communities in Upper Suyan village. The troops came from Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental and took a one-week trek to reach Upper Suyan. The patients and their families were terrified by the presence of the fascist forces and consequently, they decided not to come to the medical mission. The Red fighters keep up with their duties while more and more patients refused to go to the medical mission for check-up. On November 29, a Red fighter was ambushed by the 73rd IB forces in Sulkili community, Kihan village in Malapatan while he was on his way to assist the masses. The reactionary forces took advantage of the medical mission to contain the revolutionaries in a defensive state. Our warmest Red salute to Ka Pedped who sacrificed his life while serving the sick and needy B’laan masses!

According to reports from NPA-Sarangani Province and civilian organizations, the communities affected by the disease are suffering from very depressing conditions. Previously, these communities have been displaced by the enduring AFP military campaign and indiscriminate bombardments. The reactionary government’s negligence further worsens the residents’ unsound situation.

The VPROC appeals to all the revolutionary forces, progressive groups and individuals, human rights advocates, patriotic health professionals, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the religious and civil groups to delve into the state of the distressed Lumad communities in Upper Suyan, Malapatan. We encourage your fraternal support and endeavor to deliver appropriate medical needs, foods and other basic provisions for the patients and their families. We also call for an independent medical mission as well as an impartial pathological study on the fatal disease.

Government neglect and AFP’s inhumaneness in the time of calamity