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President Duterte has ordered the military to “take full control” of two paramilitary forces in Mindanao which have been implicated in human rights abuses against Lumads.
The President sought to clamp down on the militia groups in a bid to bring peace in the indigenous peoples communities in Mindanao during his visit to Camp Vicente Alagar in Cagayan de Oro City last Thursday.
“I have noticed from many reports that the government-backed – mga paramilitary units are still operating, I am now ordering the Army to take full control itong mga Bagani Command and the – there is another group I forgot the name,” the President said in his impromptu remarks.
Duterte admitted that paramilitary men with firearms issued by the government would only “undermine the peace process” in the country. “Mahinto na sana ito because we are really trying our best to come up with a peaceful country,” he said.
The Bagani of Surigao de Sur and another tribal militia, the Alamara of Davao del Norte, have been accused by human rights groups of committing atrocities against the IP communities. The groups are allegedly backed by the military in the guise of anti-insurgency operations.
The attacks have forced hundreds of IP families to leave their homes and take refuge elsewhere amid concerns for their safety. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)