From Martial Law to ‘daang Matwid,’ Paramilitary Groups Are Alive and Killing

During Martial Law in the 70s, Dulphing Ogan, 50, a Blaan, recalled that he was barely 10 years old when his family and neighbours hurriedly left their homes to seek refuge in the woods in Sarangani province. It was his earliest memory of evacuation, by his own community caught between armed clashes of the Moro Black Shirts and the Ilonggo Land Grabbers Association (Ilaga).

“I remembered the Ilaga were said to be grabbing Moro lands in Mindanao,” Ogan said. The Ilagas operated alongside government troops, and fought the Black Shirt Moros, also known as Bangsamoro Army (Bama).

“Another time, we evacuated because we heard gunshots from nearby villages, some two hours away. There were fightings between Moros and soldiers of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) then. We left our home at midnight, and spent the night in the woods,” Ogan said.

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