Manila activists condemn latest Lumad killings

Data from Karapatan-CARAGA
September 1, 2015


September 1, 2015 at around 4 am in Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur – Known elements of the Magahat-Bagani Forces opened fire at Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo as community members were roused from bed and forced to gather in the middle of the community early this morning. At around the same time, the dead body of Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development(ALCADEV), was found in one of the schoolrooms, tied around the neck and extremities and with stab wounds.

Previously, on August 30, after the two-day celebration of ALCADEV’s Foundation Day, about 30 elements of the 36th IBPA and Special Forces with members of the Magahat-Bagani Force occupied the school’s function hall and the school grounds. The Magahat threatened to massacre the community should they refuse to evacuate within two days.

On August 31, the cooperative store of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) was burned by the Magahat who also indiscriminately fire their guns that terrorized the community. Residents of Han-ayan, the school staff and some other guests then decided to retreat to nearby Km. 16. As they were preparing to leave that afternoon, Samarca was detained at the ALCADEV grounds by some members of the Magahat. This was the last time he was seen alive.

All cellphones and cameras of the residents, faculty and staff were seized by the Magahat before pulling out of Km. 16 after the killing. Soldiers of the 36th IBPA and the SF, who stayed in Km.9, are conducting their usual patrols took no action on the killings.

“This is a clear indication of collusion between the AFP and the armed Magahat-Bagani Forces,” Eliza Pangilinan, Karapatan Caraga secretary general, said. “Despite the obvious presence of the military who are purportedly there for internal security, these killings continue to happen with impunity.”

The Magahat-Bagani Forces led by Marcos Bocales, who were also implicated in the killing of Henry Alameda and Aldren Dumaguit in October 24, 2014, are also identified as the perpetrators of the latest massacre.

“We call on the law enforcement agencies and the local prosecutors to seriously investigate the increasing spate of killings that are perpetrated by these groups. Instead of filing charges against activists left and right they should look at the apparent connection between the military and these armed paramilitary groups, file charges and arrest them and bring a stop to impunity. This is the only way that communities can truly feel secure. ”, Panganiban said.#