12-May-11, 12:10 PM | Carlos H. Conde, InterAksyon.com
MANILA, Philippines – The soldiers descended on the Lumad (tribal) villages of Lianga where, according to human rights and tribal groups, they put up checkpoints that restricted the movement of residents and imposed a blockade that severely constrained the food supply to the communities.
The militarization of the villages in Lianga and two other towns of Surigao del Sur, in the southern Philippines, in 2008 and 2009 also forced hundreds of villagers to evacuate.
The children at two schools specially built for the Manobo tribe – the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development and the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur – suffered the most as a result of the militarization, according to advocacy groups. Because of the food blockade, children went to school on empty or half-empty stomachs. Worse, classes had to be suspended.