March 4, 2012, the First Gen Mindanao Hydroelectric Power Corporation with their engineer Christopher Martinez conducted a survey of the river systems around Sitio Zapanta in Kitcharao towards the boundary to the municipalities of Jabonga and Santiago. They were accompanied by Mamanwa guides from Ansili, namely Junrey Asay, Pedring Asay, Randy Biog, Richard Mantos and Marjun Calipayan.
March 5, 2012, at around ten o’clock in the morning, residents in Ansili and Zapanta saw 2 fighter airplanes hovering over their community, dropping four bombs in the nearby mountain areas. They estimated the detonation sites to be around 300 to 400 meters aerial distance from their homes. Some of the women experienced pressure on their chests during the detonations. They heard rapid gunfire after the bombing.
At around eleven o’clock in the morning, the two fighter airplanes return with one
helicopter. The airplanes again dropped bombs four times while the helicopter strafed the
forest areas. The women and children shouted in fear, others panicked while one of the
pregnant women suffered contractions because the bombing seemed to come nearer this
At around two o’clock in the afternoon, both airplanes and the helicopter returned. Residents saw fully armed soldiers rapelling out of the helicopter that was hovering over a nearby hill. They heard chainsaws and saw big trees fall as the soldiers set up camp.
In fear of encountering the soldiers who were in combat mode, they were unable to gather firewood that was their daily source of income. They were also unable to gather food from their farms. They divided the rice that was sold in sari-sari store but it was not enough to sustain them while they were unable to farm. Motorcycle drivers did not ply their usual route to bring food supplies in fear of being detained by soldiers (as they have repeatedly experienced in the past) along the uninhabited roads to Zapanta and Ansili.
March 6, 2012 at around eight o’clock in the morning, two fighter airplanes and another helicopter circled the community. Residents saw the helicopter land on a nearby mountain they call Bongtud, around 1 km aerial distance from Ansili. The helicopter return at nine in the morning, again at one and three in the afternoon.
Residents were becoming increasingly afraid of the coming operations because of the rapid build up of fully armed soldiers so near their communities and the use of helicopters and airplanes during the aerial bombardments.
At around three o’clock in the afternoon, because of hunger and fear of another bombing
and aerial strafing, residents decided to evacuate to the barangay center in Brgy. Bangayan.
At around five o’clock in the afternoon, 45 Mamanwa families from the lumad communities
of Ansili and Maribuhok started the eight kilometer trek to Brgy. Bangayan. Bringing only
what they could carry such as a few clothes and livestock, children, old folks and pregnant
women with their families walked in the gathering dusk. As night time neared, they used
only fire lamps to light the way. They arrived in Bangayan at around eight o’clock in the
March 9, 2012, because of sporadic gunfire and increased military presence and encroachment in the middle of Sitio Zapanta, eighty peasant families evacuated at around two in the afternoon. They also walked to Brgy. Bangayan to seek sanctuary from the military operations.
March 14, 2012, 24 families from the Mamanwa community of Manhumapay, in the
mountainous areas of Kitcharao reached sanctuary after one week of walking and avoiding
the aerial bombings. This group of about 100 individuals were very near the areas where
the bombs were dropped, some children hit with shrapnel from the bombs, others suffered
wounds and scratches as they lay prone on the ground during the bombings. They are
currently among the 78 Mamanwa families who are in an evacuation center in Butuan City.
There are presently 149 families-evacuees from Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. About 80 families are in the Barangay Hall and nearby houses of relatives and friends in Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, while 69 families, mostly Mamanwa, are in Butuan City, seeking sanctuary from soldiers who continue to pursue them even in the evacuation center in Bangayan.
PRESENT SITUATION IN THE BUTUAN CITY EVACUATION CENTER
On March 14, 78 Mamanwa families with about 345 individuals from Kitcharao and Sitio Lusong, Brgy. Puting Bato, Cabadbaran City arrived in Butuan City to seek sanctuary and ask for help from the Agusan del Norte Provincial Government to petition the pullout of military troops from their communities and desist from the airstrikes in the community. They asked for shelter from the Provincial Government but were refused the use of the Provincial Capitol’s covered gym, in favor of a private contract with an entertainment company who were to set up an exhibit until May. Local leaders from Kayapan – Amihan, a local lumad organization, were able to ask for assistance from the barangay officials of Brgy. Imadejas for the use of their barangay covered court. The evacuees are now shelted at the Barangay Imadejas Covered Court.
Since their arrival, four children under six years old suffered diarrhea and were dehydrated
while about 30 adults and children complained of abdominal pains. There were about 16
children and 2 adults who had upper respiratory tract infection requiring antibiotics while
many others had colds and intermittent cough. There are three pregnant women, with one
suffering profound anemia. There are also children with infected wounds on their feet.
The evacuees are in need of food, medicines, clothes, laundry soap, sleeping mats and potable water. They also need slippers and change of clothes, especially the children with infected wounds.