eastwind journals 47 – THE TAMPAKAN MASSACRE fr peter jeremiah writes

Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, Oct. 23, 2012
From Fr. Peter Jeremiah, PIME


A mother,JuvyCapion, 27 years old, three months pregnant and her two children Jordan “Pop” Capion, 13 and Jhon MarkCapion 8 years old, were killed in their home-farmat Fayahlob mountain, SitioDatal-Alyong  at the boundary of Tampakan&Kiblawan&Columbioon Oct. 18, 2012 at around 6:30 in the morning.


The 27th IB has been huntingDaguilCapion, husband of Juvy, who is known as the leader of the “Pangayaw” or Tribal war against the large-scale mining company SMI.He was able to escape, but his wife and children were massacred.


Why? The soldiers claim that it was an encounter…… Another Officer of the same battalion in a similar situation surrounded a home where a team of NPA were resting.  The father of the family ran to the young Lieutenant and cried “if your troops attack, my children will be caught in the crossfire…”  The officer ordered his troops to withdraw.  Later he confessed that he remembered his young child, he could not risk the lives of civilians…


If the soldiers are meant to be the “Protectors of the People,” their first mandate, their constitutional oath, is to protect civilians above all other orders.  If they risk the lives of civilians, they betray their oath, they are no longer Soldiers of the Philippines, but mercenaries of a foreign company that pays them to kill anyone on their way.


To the soldiers I repeat the cry of Archbishop Oscar Romero “I pray, I plead with you, I command you in God’s name: STOPKILLINGYOUR OWN PEOPLE!…”


To the Officers, even the President, I ask: if you order or allow tokill people like Juvy and their children, haven’t you lost your legitimacy? You may find words to justify your rules of engagement, but you cannot justify this crime before God and your people.  Didn’t you know that in the home there was a family?


To the SMI-Xstrata and all Share Holders I say: “ Get you share of blood!  You are accomplices in killing women and children.  Your gold and your millions are soaked in blood, your hands are stained by blood…”


You are like Cain, God is asking you “What happened to your brothers and sisters?  Their blood is crying out from the mouth of the earth to the sky…”  You cannot silence the cry of the blood of the innocent.   You have the mark of Cain on your forehead!   If you tell us to stop our crying, then we repeat what Jesus said to the Pharisees” If you silence these people, the stones will cry out…”


The massacre of Juvyand her children took place the day after the one – year anniversary of the murder of Fr. FaustoTentorio, PIME in Arakan.  Similar masterminds, determined to murder a priest who gave hope to the victims of exploitation.  The same 10th IDwhich trains and orders soldiers and paramilitaries or assets to spread terror.  At the same time they claim to follow a new strategy, to promote peace and development.  Are the killings of Fr. Pops and Juvy signs of peace and development?  The President called for a thorough investigation on the Tentorio killing, but up to now, one year after, there are no credible results because influential people,specifically the military, are blocking the investigations. Now will there be another investigation  or a cover up?  How can there be peace and development without justice and sincerity? 


If the Aquino Administration is determined to  reverse the policy of corruption and plunder of the GMA administration,  how can they allow SMI to plunder the resources of the people leaving a trail of blood like that ofBoy Billanes, Fr. Pops and Juvy and all the other casualties on both sides? And a trail of pollution that poisons the present and future generations?
I first knew Juvy as a young child, whenwe rescued her and their tribe when the security guards of the logging company were hunting them in the forest.  With the LGU of Columbio, SK we helped them to reoccupy their lands.  Nowthey are being hunted again in their own land.  Who can rescue the survivors?


We pray for the victims and the survivors.  We pray also that more people will unite in facing these realities. We pray that Public Officials may give less attention to political games and help protect and save the people from plunder imposed by force by the military that supposedly shoulddefend them.


We pray that the media expose the on-going struggles for Justice and Peace identifying the true peacebuilders and the real criminals.We pray that the Religious Leaders may wake up and hear the cry of the victims and awaken the conscience of many, like Moses and Jesus.


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Justice… Blessed are the Peacebuilders… Blessed are those who share the struggles of the Poor in building God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven…”


Fr. Peter Geremia,PIME
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