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VIDEO: Northeastern Mindanao celebrates CPP 47th founding anniversary

Despite checkpoints by the Philippine Army and threats by a paramilitary group that it will kill attendees, thousands of members, supporters and invited guests attended the grand Communist Party of the Philippines 47th founding anniversary celebrations in Northeastern Mindanao last December 26.

Here is a video of the singing of the communist hymn “Ang Internasyunal” led by a company  of New People’s Army fighters.

UP opens arms to Lumad Struggle

The Manilakbayan 2015 from Mindanao arrives at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to press against state terror attacks on Lumad schools, communities and people. UP Chancellor Dr. Michael Tan and CONTEND Chair Prof. Gerry Lanuza receive the Lumads with open arms. Music provided by Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino (Kontra-GaPi) led by Prof. Edru Abraham. The campaign #StopLumadKillings is supported by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).

Soldiers disrespect Lianga massacre victims

After Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos and Juvello Sinzo were killed at Sitio Han-ayan and Kilometer 16 in Surigao del Sur, allegedly by members of the Magahat-Bagani last September 1, ALCADEV teacher Rico Pareja was sent ahead by the community to Poblacion Lianga to report the massacre to the local police. He then proceeded to Diatagon to await the arrival of the other evacuees and the bodies of the three victims.

Watch as he narrates what they experienced from elements of the 36th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army that day.

Lumad join protest rally at 43rd anniversary of Martial Law declaration

The Lumad and teachers of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) joined cause-oriented groups in a protest-rally in Manila on the occassion of the 43rd anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. They narrated how government soldiers massacred Alcadev executive director Emerito Samarca, Datu Juvello Sinzo and Dionel Campos last September 1.

Caraga lumads, peasants: State of region is marked with blood

February 23, 2015 – At mid-day, the gates of Almont hotel’s inland Resort were deliberately closed as security personnel scamper to control hundreds of placard holding Caraganons lining it. Inside, Sol F. Matugas, Chairperson of the Regional Development Council Delivers his first ever State of the Region Address in front of a delegation of Caraga’s regional line agencies, Local government units and partners.

“If Sol F. Matugas is telling all of us about the state of the region, he should be all accounts put into writing what we have to say” exclaims Franklin Campos, of Lumad group KASALO-Caraga. “Only few government officials have faced us since we went down from our communities and now the RDC is talking about the state of the region without allowing us to give an input on our situation in the rural areas? They should listen and face us before they dare make any grand narrative about the state of the region.“ Campos adds.

Today is the 20th anniversary since former President Fidel Ramos signed RA 7901 in 1995. The act which formally made Caraga into a special administrative region. However, unknown to most, Caraga region first took its shape way back during the Spanish period the colonizers set-up a military garrison to reinforce their invasion of Tandag. Since its inception the words Caraga and Military belonged in the same sentence.

Campos, along with 300 of his companions are part of Tambuli tu Kalinow – Kampuhan sa Butuan. A campaign which mobilized individuals from Caraga regions most militarized communities to directly engage with regional line agencies to demand intervention and swift action. They represent 8 lumad organization under Kasalo-Caraga and 4 organizations under KMP-Caraga. They are calling to “Defend our community! Dismantle the armed para-military of the Butcher EastMinCom!” The group started their week-long camp-out protest cum cultural Caravan since February 18 and have set-up camp at the Libertad Sports complex.

Prior to their picket-rally the Almont Hotel, the group tried to have talks with the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chairman, Butuan Mayor Amante, but failed to get contact with him as he was “out of town”. Days before, the body has had talks with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – XIII officer-in-charge Atty. Pinky Grace Pabelic who was absent, NCIP acting regional hearing officer Atty. John E. Luneta, faced the delegation. He was unable to commit to any actions on the issues raised by the representatives of the lumad people, instead assuring them that he will inform NCIP officer-in-charge Pinky Grace Pabalic, who was not in her office, about the issues. Their main agenda was the dire situation that Aquino’s anti-insurgency program “Oplan Bayanihan” brought them.

“Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s counter insurgency program” says Franklin “has wreaked havoc in our rural communities because of our firm and organized grassroots actions to resist the incursion of Mining, plantations and energy projects. It has unleashed a mighty war machine that is composed of nine full combat battalions, four of which (2 scout ranger and two special force battalions) are under the Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army augmented by a host of paramilitary groups”

According to Campos, since 2012 under the US-Aquino regime, more or less 10,000 people have been dislocated from their livelihood from not less than 50 communities in 4 provinces in the Caraga region. There has already been 10 evacuations since the previous year of 2014 until the first months of 2015, victimizing 1,165 lumad and peasant families or 5,172 individuals. At present 413 families with 1,652 individuals are still in the evacuation centers in Bunawan, Bayugan and San Luis in Agusan del Sur, while 122 families or 591 individuals that evacuated in Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur since October 2014 had recently been able to return home. They evacuated because of the killings of their leaders, harassments, their communities turned into garrisons and cyclic military operations of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 4th Scout Ranger Battalion, 75th and 26th IB PA. Ten (10) lumad and peasant leaders were killed during the AFPs military operations in 2014 until February 10, 2015. Paramilitary groups accompanying the military troops committed cold blooded killings and other crimes against the people. The group of Calpet Egua, Marcos Bocales who call themselves ‘Bagani’ or ‘Magahat’ and the ‘Maggahat’ group of Mario Napungahan are mainly armed by the AFP to commit harassments in the mountains. Included among these groups are Eddie “Komander Bawang” Ampiawan and Benhur Mansulonay’s armed groups turned CAFGU.

Also, Campos adds that 124 leaders of MAPASU, TAGDUMAHAN and KASALO-Caraga; leaders and active members of UMAN, KAMASS of KMP-Caraga have been filed trumped up cases. Forty three (43) of these were cases filed last 2014 and includes lumad leaders Jalandoni Campos, MAPASU chairperson and Genasque Enriquez, Secretary General of KASALO Caraga.

The group has set to engage the regional heads of the Department of interior and Local Government and the Department of Justice before capping their week long camp-out protest with a big mobilization on February 25 in time of the annual celebration of the 1986 EDSA Revolution.

“We hope to have gained some positive gains before we depart for our homes. Until then, we shall maintain our offensive posture.” says Campos. ##

NCIP REGIONAL OFFICE IN CARAGA TROOPED BY LUMADS DEMANDING INTERVENTION ON THE SPATE OF LUMAD RIGHTS ABUSES


February 20, 2015 – More than 300 lumad people from Caraga’s most militarized communities trooped to the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Butuan City to demand the agency’s intervention regarding the alleged abuses of the Philippine Army while conducting military operations within their ancestral lands.

The group staged a two-hour piket-rally cum cultural caravan outside the agency’s office while their leaders simultaneously went in for a dialogue with the agency’s regional officials.

Martial law in rural Caraga

Describing the situation in their communities as “under a state of undeclared martial law”, the group urged the agency to primarily take the lead in dismantling the various paramilitary groups present in the Caraga region as well as to take a hand in solving the plethora of human rights violations which targets lumad communities, organizations and their leaders who are staunch critics of Mining and agri-business corporations encroaching their ancestral domains.

According to Franklin Campos, Kasalo-Caraga Spokesperson “Caraga region has experienced an escalation of human rights violations in the past months. In fact, as of this time 413 families or 1,165 individuals are internally displaced from lumad communities. They are currently cramped in the evacuation centers in Bunawan, Bayugan and San Luis Agusan del Sur.“ These people fled their homes and farms because of the cyclic military operations of the Philippine Army’s nine combat battalions done under the blessing of the BS Aquino regime in line with his Oplan Bayanihan.

“Not only that,” says Franklin, “adding into AFP’s war machine are the Paramilitary groups who are armed by the military.” Provided with technical and logistical support, these groups accompany the military troops in their combat operations. He adds that the names Calpet Egua, Marcos Bocales, Mario Napungahan and Loreto Mayor Dario Otaza who call themselves ‘Bagani’ or ‘Magahat’; Eddie “Komander Bawang” Ampiawan and Benhur Mansulonay’s armed groups turned CAFGU are commonly mentioned by the people when asked who they are running from. Unbounded by any war protocol, these groups commit cold blooded killings and other crimes against the people including the harassments against Lumad school teachers and students. They have also destroyed schools and community socio-economic projects.

To make matters worse, the commission also has a hand in the formation of these paramilitary groups and has in several instances encouraged lumads applying for CADT’s to form armed militias.

In the absence of NCIP-Caraga officer-in-charge Atty. Pinky Grace Pabelic who was absent, NCIP acting regional hearing officer Atty. John E. Luneta, faced the delegation. He was unable to commit to any actions on the issues raised by the representatives of the lumad people, instead assuring them that he will inform NCIP officer-in-charge Pinky Grace Pabalic, who was not in her office, about the issues. He assured them that the commission will provide a formal response within fifteen working days.

The more than 300 indigenous peoples and peasants are part of the Tambuli Tu Kalinow – Kampohan sa Butuan (Call for peace-Butuan Camp-out). Currently camped at the Libertad Sports Complex, they represent lumad organization under Kasalo-Caraga and peasant organizations under KMP-Caraga. The group will be conducting of dialogues with concerned government agencies among other activities highlighting their calls which will culminate in a multi-sectoral rally on February 25, 2015. ##