1 Killed, 5 Children Wounded in Paramilitary Rampage in Bukidnon

July 31, 2016

By RMP-NMR

One pregnant woman dies while at least seven other individuals, five of them minors, are wounded in a shooting rampage of a paramilitary group in the Tigwahanon community of Sitio Tibugawan, Barangay Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon in the morning of July 30.

According to an eyewitness, a teacher of the RMP-NMR Literacy and Numeracy school in Barangay Kawayan, a wedding had just finished in the community when the rain of bullets started. Makinit Gayoran, who was pregnant and was carrying her firstborn, only a few months old, was the first to fall, a bullet hitting her chest.

The paramilitary group headed by the notorious Butsoy Salusad was positioned on top of the hill overlooking the community. They fired at the entire community but concentrated at the house where around 80 individuals were gathered for the wedding.

That morning, Barangay Kawayan IP Mandatory Representative Arnold Manhura reportedly met Butsoy Salusad along the road in Sitio Spring, which just next to Sitio Tibugawan. Salusad was reportedly dressed in military camouflage and combat shoes, and was fully armed. At least 11 other armed men were with him. They also brought with them two residents from Sitio Spring and Sitio Tibugawan tied up with a rope, forced to guide the group.

Datu Arnold said that he had pleaded with Butsoy not to go to Sitio Tibugawan as the appearance of fully armed men might disturb the wedding festivities. Salusad went on and in just a few minutes indiscriminately fired at the community.

Seven of the community members were brought to the hospital, two with leg fractures. Five of them are minors – three teenagers, one 8-year old boy, and another 7-year old boy.

For some months already, the community has been receiving threats from Butsoy Salusad. He said he would kill them all if Datu Jimboy Mandagit would not surrender. Salusad has accused Datu Jimboy of being a member of the New People’s Army. Datu Jimboy was one of the leaders who accompanied the Tigwahanon families that evacuated to Haran in Davao City a year ago after intensive military operations in their communities.

After the incident, the entire community of Sitio Tibugawan and some families from Sitio Sil-angon who were at the wedding went down to the center of Barangay Kawayan to seek sanctuary. They feared that Salusad and his men were still around. The families were not able to bring anything with them when they fled.

The community calls for justice against the uncalled for violence. The paramilitary group of Salusad has been terrorizing the Lumad communities in San Fernando for several years already. They were responsible for the killing of Dao Barangay Captain Jimmy Liguyon in 2012 and other community leaders such as Balangas Anlamit and Mabini Manobia over the years. They are also allegedly controlling the trade of small-scale gold mining in Barangays Dao and Kiranggol in San Fernando.###