Asuncion, DDN—In a radio interview last week, 2Lt Amadeuz Celestial, Civil-Military Operations Officer of the 60th Infantry Battalion (60IB), said they were ‘surprised’ with the Alliance of Community Educators’ (ACE) implication of 60IB to a ‘series of harassments’ against Lumad schools in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.


ACE Spokesperson Ricky Balilid, last week, hit on the 60IB and ‘state-sponsored’ Alamara forces for harassing and interrogating Ramil Miguel, President of ACE and teacher-in-charge of Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) in Talaingod.According to Balilid, a certain Rudel Butanlog and three others, forcibly entered the STTICLC premises in Sitio Nasilaban, Brgy Palma Gil, Talaingod and ‘interrogated’ Miguel regarding the legality of the school’s operations. Further, Balilid claimed that Butanlog have been “intruding the school’s premises and interfering [with] the school’s activities three times this month.” Balilid also accusingly criticized the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, in general, for tagging STTICLC in Davao region as “enemies of state forces.”Butanlog, who was a member of the New People’s Army for 19 years before he voluntarily surrendered to the 1003rd Infantry Brigade last 2015, was also a former lecturer/instructor at the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) which is the originator of the STTICLC in Talaingod.In a recorded interview, Butanlog admitted that he did enter the premises of the school and talked to Miguel but denies that his entry was forceful and that he harassed or interrogated the latter. Butanlog even claims that he and Miguel have had informal chats--over snacks and cups of coffee--prior his alleged harassment.Meanwhile, Balilid also accused soldiers and paramilitary men of preventing teachers and students of the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) from holding classes since June 5.

MISFI is located in Sitio Muling, Brgy. Gupitan, Kapalong, DDN.


60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla, condemns ACE and other organizations for maliciously implicating the unit in these various incidents. Canilla is dismayed by their insistence of soldiers’ involvement in cases of harassments, intrusion, and intimidation of Lumad schools which are all based on hearsay.

As of current, all allegations of deliberate blockades, destruction of property, and even control of water system and restriction of residents for access remain unsubstantiated. While there are several records and incident reports filed at the barangay unit and the police, no formal complaints or charges has been filed mostly because of lack of evidence.

Canilla also explained about the presence of his troops in Talaingod, “Recognizing the Free and Prior Informed Consent of Talaingod being an IP Municipality and by virtue of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between and among the local government unit, the heads of barangay, the executive tribal chieftain and other local leaders, our unit is currently conducting a Community Support Program (CSP) aimed at assisting the local government and other government agencies in bringing their services closer to the people. If any, the various CSP teams deployed in Talaingod have proved helpful in ensuring the safe and timely implementation of government programs and projects especially for the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas within the municipality.”

As for the allegations against soliders based in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Canilla denies any such occurrence of blocking or threatening teachers and students of MISFI. Similarly, the incident has not been reported to the authorities.

In fact, 60IB is a partner of the Municipal Government of Kapalong in the resettlement program (PEACE Pact) that the latter implemented in the resettlement of former Haran evacuees in Sitio Muling. 60IB was also instrumental to the successful implementation of numerous government and non-government-led programs and projects at Gupitan, Kapalong, DDN.


We encourage Mr. Ramil Miguel and his other companions affected by this incident to file formal charges against any of our personnel/soldiers/troops who have displayed misconduct or have engaged in any illegal pursuit that adversely affected them in one way or another. We guarantee that the unit will cooperate with the authority and support the complainants’ stance in the event that police and legal procedure ably prove our accountability in these incidents. In the absence of procedure or verdict, however, we earnestly call on Mr. Miguel and related parties to stop spreading wrong information and malicious allegations that implicate our personnel in particular and the unit in general. If we really are ‘with the people’ and ‘for the people’ we should be working together instead of going against each other.