More than 1,000 Manobo “lumad” evacuees from nine hinterland villages in two towns in Surigao del Sur, who fled their homes, for fear of increasing military presence have returned to their communities, officials said .
The Surigao del Sur provincial government on Wednesday sent 10 trucks and “habal-habals” at the evacuation site in Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town to fetch the evacuees home.
Lumad and Church groups said the July 16 evacuation was triggered by soldiers from the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion, which set up a military detachment and “occupied” the indigenous people’s ancestral land for counterinsurgency operations.
The military reportedly gave assurance there would be no more detachments or regular patrols but only mobile checkpoints in the evacuees’ villages, tagged as part of Andap Valley Complex, an area largely influenced by communist rebels. By GD Contributed photo