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Bangsamoro and Lumad activists slam martial law in Mindanao

Leading Moro and Lumad activists slammed human rights violations on the 11th day of the Duterte government’s martial law in Mindanao.

In a forum in Quezon City with several church representatives, the activists said military rule on their island is giving rise to many abuses from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The abuses range from harassment to food blockades of civilian communities, the leaders said.

While the groups are against the terrorist Maute group, they urge the Duterte government to lift its martial law declaration over the entire Mindanao region.

They held a noise barrage along EDSA after the forum. (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun)

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Mindanao activists protest Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao

Bangsamoro and Lumad activists led a protest action in Camp Aguinaldo after the Rodrigo Duterte government declared martial law in Mindanao.

The protesters said incidents of human rights violations have increased immediately after the May 23 declaration while paramilitary forces with outstanding warrants of arrests are brazenly coming out in the open in the company of the very state units tasked to arrest them. (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun)

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Martial law survivors hold ‘Black Friday’ protest

Martial law survivors led a protest action in Mendiola to protest President Rodirgo Duterte’s military rule declaration in Mindanao last May 26.

The recalled the horrors the Filipino people suffered under Ferdinand Marcos’ 14-year old martial law and warned more such human rights violations are bound to happen under the current government.

The protesters urged the Duterte government to lift martial law. (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun)

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Activists hold rally for peace and justice in Mindanao

After President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law over the whole of Mindanao earlier this week following attacks by the Maute Group, progressive organizations held a rally at Plaza Miranda last Wednesday afternoon to call for peace and justice in Mindanao.

Protesting what they say is an unwarranted military rule to quell an attack at certain locations in the island, the activists said martial law is not the proper response to the crisis in isolated areas in Mindanao.

They instead called on President Duterte to revoke his declaration in fear of massive human rights violations against innocent civilians. # (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun)

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Martial law may negatively affect peace talks

INSTANBUL, Turkey–President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to declare martial law over all of the Philippines will adversely affect his government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Jose Maria Sison, the group’s chief political consultant, said.

In an interview,  Sison said Duterte’s martial law declaration over the entire Mindanao may just be a trial balloon and his government may have plans to expand it to include all of the country.

“The martial law shall negatively affect the peace negotiations all the more if it is proclaimed throughout the Philippines after its apparent trial balloon in Mindanao,” Sison said,

“It will have the same bad effects if the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) would use martial law to try to scare (the NDFP) and force it to an interim joint ceasefire agreement ahead of a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms,” he added.

Sison’s predictions gained more ground yesterday after President Rodrigo Duterte announced upon his arrival from Russia it is possible he will extend his martial law declaration in Mindanao to Visayas and eventually to Luzon.

“I may decide to expand the area to include the Visayas because it is a walking distance actually,” Duterte said.

The President later said he is actually considering placing Luzon under military rule, saying Islamic State militants could already have gained foothold on the island.

The GRP and the NDFP are set to hold their fifth round of formal talks in Noordwijk Aan Zee from May 27 to June 2. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured image courtesy of Malacañan Palace)

Datu Jemboy Mandagit: A Warrior Datu for peace

A special report by Raymund B. Villanueva

WARRIOR Datu Jemboy Mandagit was among the leaders of the 40,000-strong rally outside the House of Representatives summoned by President Rodrigo Duterte for an audience with him after his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Like tens of millions of Filipinos, the young Warrior Datu thought change would finally come or, at least, the Lumad killings would stop.  It was after all a campaign promise fellow Mindanaoan Duterte uttered several times in the past months.

Along with 3,000 fellow Lumads and peasants from all over Mindanao, Datu Jemboy went to Manila hoping to witness peace dawning in the Lumad’s ancestral domains.  He remembers the exact moment in the SONA when Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army, the revolutionary group Mandagit was falsely accused of being a member.  It was totally unexpected then that yet another nightmare would visit Datu Jemboy’s community shortly after, one that would again send his own people scampering for safety.

Five days after the President’s SONA, Datu Jemboy’s community was attacked. A pregnant woman and the child in her womb was killed while seven others were injured.

Just a day after the indigenous leader of a very remote community met Duterte within the enclave of the country’s political elite, Alde “Butsoy” Salusad, leader of the so-called New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR), had been circling Datu Jemboy’s territory.  He spent three days at nearby Sitio Spring, looking for Datu Jemboy and issuing threats.

A traditional Tigwahanon Manobo wedding was being celebrated at Datu Jemboy’s community of Sitio Tibugawan, Barangay Kawayan in San Fernando, Bukidnon that Saturday morning of July 30.  But the day started uneasy.

A tragic wedding

At dawn, Butsoy appeared on a hill near Sitio Tibugawan and accosted residents Jason Pangantagan, 35 years old; Okking Sidon, 20; and his own relative Jaime Salusad, 40.  He ordered the three tied up and barked a forbidding threat: “If I do not kill Jemboy or I do not kill anyone in Tibugawan today, it would have to be you three.”

Butsoy then approached the community, accompanied by 12 members of the Civilian Auxilliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) under the 68th Infantry Battallions of the Philippine Army, among them a certain Ronald Cabantao.  They were wearing jungle fatigues and was armed to the teeth.

Before they could enter the community, they came across Barangay Kawayan Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Arnold Manhura who begged him not to proceed to Sitio Tibugawan and let the wedding celebration be.  Butsoy told him he and his band won’t be long.  They would only be in the sitio for 10 short minutes, he said.  The IPMR, frightened by the menacing men and guns before him, assented.

Then shots rang out at nine o’clock that morning.

Makinit Gayoran, six months pregnant and carrying her nine-month old baby, was killed when a bullet pierced her torso.  Seven others were wounded, five of whom were minors and students of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region Literacy and Numeracy School. Two other community members, Kambo Bangonan and Boras Sedong, were also wounded in the incident.  A 60-year old indigenous leader was the eighth victim, Datu Daparapa, who was hit on his right toe.

Witnesses saw Butsoy was among those who peppered the house where the celebration was being held with submachine gun fire for 10 minutes from 50 meters away. Eighty families of Sitio Tibugawan and nearby communities fled and are now encamped at the Bukidnon Provincial Capitol grounds in Malaybalay City.

Duterte’s short-lived ceasefire order was in effect when Butsoy and the government forces killed Gayoran and her child and injured seven others.

It was only 11 days after the incident that Datu Jemboy was able to go back to Bukidnon.  He first saw his wife Pedela and their infant son again at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital, the boy having gotten sick at the encampment.

Warrior Datu for peace

Datu Jemboy is but 25 years old.  He took on life at a young age, customary among the Tigwahanon Manobos.

He entered into an arranged marriage with his wife Pedela when he was 10 years old and she, nine years old.  They have five sons, the eldest now 11 and the youngest still an infant.

As soon as he could trek the treacherous paths to other communities, his paternal grandfather Ramun Mandagit took him along to teach him the ways of a Warrior Datu.  The elder Mandagit has annointed him as his successor, a mantle he took in 2005 when Datu Ramun died.

Ako ang tanging pinili ng 11 na Tribal Datus ng aming lugar, kasi iyon ang gusto ni Datu Ramun.  Ako lang ang sinanay niya na susunod na Warrior Datu,” Datu Jemboy said (I was unanimously elected by the 11 Community Datus of our territory, because it was the wish of Datu Ramun.  I was the only one he trained to be his successor.)

He now leads  11 communities that straddle Bukidnon and Davao City under the indigenous organization KASILO (Kaugalingong Sistema sa Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan, a Lumad organization in Bukidnon) with around 4,000 individual members.

A Warrior Datu must be brave, Datu Jemboy said.  He must be willing to scale mountains and ford rivers even at night to settle disputes as soon as possible.  He must be able to gather the community Datus regularly and unite them in major decisions.

“Maraming problema ang inaayos ng Warrior Datu.  May patayan, agawan ng asawa, agawan ng lupa,” Datu Jemboy said.  (There are many problems that need a Datu Warrior’s attention.  These range from killings, wife-snatching, landgrabbing.)  Datu Jemboy succeeds in placating the agrieved parties with traditional preferred defrayals such as horses and hunting rifles.  When an agreement is reached, he leads both parties and the communities in the panumpa (pledging) and tampuda (peace pact).  “Iyan, hindi na mababali,” Datu Jemboy said.  (The panumpa and tampuda are inviolable.)

There has not been a dispute that has escalated into a clan or tribal war among the 11 Tigwahanon Manobo communities of San Fernando and Davao in Datu Jemboy’s 11-year leadership.  Neither has he gone to war with other tribes.  He has made his Warrior Datu title a misnomer.

Datu of the mountains

But Tigwahanon Manobos—originally a riverine tribe but who have been driven up the mountains over the years—have not been been left in peace by outsiders for a long time now.  Their peace is often shattered by incursions of logging and mining companies as well as the militarization that invariably accompanies them.

Two mining companies, San Christo Mineral Exploration Corporation and Apex Mining Company, Inc. had explored for gold in Datu Jemboy’s ancestral lands.  This, after outsiders learned that gold nuggets are often found in Tigwahanon Manobo’s streams and rivers.

Datu Jemboy’s community has consistently stood up against mining. Roger Plana, secretary general of the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, said their opposition became even stronger after Butsoy killed then KASILO vice-chairperson Datu Jimmy Liguyon in March 2012.

Liguyon, a Matigsalug Manobo and Barangay Captain of Dao in San Fernando was killed in front of his house.  Butsoy, a relative of Liguyon, has repeatedly boasted it was him who killed the Datu and government official.

The Philippine government has been using Lumad to sow terror among fellow Lumad.  The Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government launched its Investment Defense Force with rebel-surrenderees and Lumad armed groups acting as private armies for mining, logging and plantation companies. This gave rise to the proliferation of paramilitary groups such as Alamara, Magahat-Bagani Force and Salusad’s NIPAR.  They also function as auxilliaries to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ counterinsurgency program euphemistically called the Oplan (Operation Plan) Bayanihan-Internal Security Plan.  In exchange for their mercenary activities, they are enticed with regular pay or small mining activities they themselves could operate.

In Salusad’s case, he is allowed to collect commissions from San Fernando’s gold mining and trade.  He is even called a “peacemaker” by government agencies, awarding him with a mantle of legality and respectability despite multiple criminal charges for murder.

But while Butsoy seems to have his way with the AFP and the Philippine National Police, he is vigorously opposed by other Lumads.

“Pinoprotekhan namin ang aming mga bundok at gubat dahil ito ang aming ospital at palengke.  Sa mga ito namin kinukuha ang aming mga gamot kapag kami ay nagkakasakit at dito rin namin kinukuha ang marami sa aming pagkain.  Wala namang ospital na malapit sa amin,” Datu Jemboy said.  (We protect our mountains and forests because these are our hospital and marketplace.  We gather our medicines from these when we get sick, and many of our food.  There are no hospitals near our communities.)

On their farmlands, the Tigwahanon Manobos plant upland rice, bananas and root crops like cassava and sweet potatoes.  They gather and process the fiber from wild abaca plants as one of their main cash products.  They are financially poor but they do not bother the government too much about their simple existence.  Mostly, they just want to be left alone.

Warrior Datu in the cities

Following intense militarization in their communities in July 2015 and Butsoy’s many threats against him, Datu Jemboy led his people in a forced evacuation to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines compound in Haran, Davao City.

In Davao City, Datu Jemboy became one of the main leaders and spokesperson of the various groups that have sought shelter at the evacuation center.  His leadership qualities shone when he took on the likes of North Cotabato Representative Nancy Catamco who led police-aided raids at the Haran sanctuary to force the Lumads back to their communities.

“Magaling magsalita si Datu Jemboy, hindi nahihiya.  Marunong siyang mag-Cebuanon at mag-Filipino.  Hindi rin siya natatakot sa psychological warfare ng militar at ni Butsoy,” Plana said of the Datu.  (Datu Jemboy is a good speaker and is not shy.  He knows Cebuano and Filipino.  He is not afraid of the threats and the psychological warfare against him by the military and Butsoy.)

Plana adds that the Lumad are often seen as timid by lowlanders.  But Datu Jemboy has transcended their usual shyness because he is defending his people and their ancestral domain.

“Kasi, kung wasak na ang bundok at wala nang mga puno, wasak na rin ang kultura naming mga katutubo.  Sa aming lupang ninuno namin pina-praktis ang aming kultura, politika at ekonomiya.  Hindi na kami pwedeng tawaging Lumad kung sa basurahan na kami nakatira,” Plana said. (If the mountains are destroyed and our forests are gone, our cultures are also destroyed.  We can only practice our cultural, political and economic traditions in our ancestral domains.  We cannot be called Lumads if we already live in garbage dumps.)

It was not only in Davao City that Datu Jemboy displayed his mettle.  He was among the Datus who led the cross-country Manilakbayan 2015 and 2016 that travelled from the hinterlands of Mindanao to Metro Manila, the political and economic center of the country.  On the streets of the seething capital, the Lumad forced millions of Filipinos to become aware of their struggles and their bravery.  Never will the Lumad’s defense of their ancestral lands be ignored again.

On December 20, 2015, Datu Jemboy led his people back to Sitio Tibugawan in the hope that they could go back to their lands in peace.  They cleared the farms and planted rice and corn.  Then El Niño withered their crops away until a State of Calamity had to be declared. Still, the Tigwahanon Manobos tried to rebuild and hoped to live in peace.

And then July 30 happened.

This time, Datu Jemboy said they will not go back to San Fernando while Butsoy remains free.  He still leads the resistance against accusations by Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri that their forced evacuation is fake.

“Sabi pa sa amin, bayaran na lang daw ng P150,000 yung pamilya ng namatay at P25,000 ang ibibigay naman sa mga nasugatan.  Hindi lamang pera ang kapalit ng aming buhay.  Kailangang hulihin ng mga pulis si Butsoy.  Nasa Sitio Kiranggol lang siya,” Datu Jemboy said.  (We were even told that they will just give P150,000 to the family of the killed victim and P25,000 for each of the injured.  Money cannot compensate for the lost lives of our tribes people. Butsoy must also be arrested.  He is just in Sitio Kiranggol.)

In April 2012, a local court issued a warrant of arrest against Butsoy for the murder of Liguyon but authorities have not arrested him.

The Tigwahanon Manobos’ Warrior Datu’s voice rings clear: “Ipapakita namin kay Governor Zubiri na hindi kami buang para mag-bakwit sa syudad ng walang dahilan. Lalaban kami sa kanila.  Hindi kami papayag na patayin nila kami sa gutom at walang kalaban-laban.” (We will show Governor Zubiri that we are not crazy to evacuate to the city without reason.  We will fight them.  We will not allow them to just kill us by hapless starvation without giving a fight.) #

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This special report was originally published by the MINDANAO INTERFAITH INSTITUTE FOR LUMAD STUDIES with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the RMP-NMR Inc and the “Healing the Hurt” Project partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

MINDANAO INTERFAITH INSTITUTE FOR LUMAD STUDIES is part of the Healing the Hurt Project supported by the European Union.

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.

NPA in Mindanao grows, leaders say

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The Internationale. Part of a company of NPA guerrillas presenting arms as they sing the communist hymn “Ang Internasyunal” at the start of the CPP’s 47th founding anniversary.

 

Kitcharao, AGUSAN DEL NORTE—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) further gained strength despite more than five years of brutal counter-insurgency operations by the Benigno Aquino government, a top rebel leader said during their 47th founding anniversary celebrations in this town last December 26.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge ‘Ka Oris’ Madlos said that the New People’s Army (NPA) now has six more guerilla fronts from 40 at the start of the Aquino administration in five regions of Mindanao.

Madlos added that the NPA’s operations in Mindanao now cover 2,500 barrios from 1,850 five years ago.

“These ever expanding and deepening bases render great advantage to the NPA’s maneuver, the launching of tactical offensives (TO), the recruitment of Red fighters, the implementations of widespread agrarian revolution and the launching of mass struggles,” Madlos in a video message said.

A company of uniformed guerillas presented arms while the communist hymn “Ang Internasyunal” was sung to start a three-hour program marked with speeches, songs and skits that delighted the thousands of supporters, well-wishers and guests who attended the event.

The fact that a single NPA Front can organize and successfully hold a big public event despite threats and harassments by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Magahat paramilitary group is proof that Oplan (Operation Plan) Bayanihan 1 and 2 have failed, Guerilla Front 16 spokesperson Ka Utok said.

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Uniformed and fully armed. A platoon of red fighters in their uniform and high-powered arms such as AK-47s and M-16s with grenade launchers. They say most of their guns were won through victorious battles with Philippine government forces.

 

Threats and harassments

Government troops set up checkpoints on roads leading to the venue of the celebrations but were ignored by convoys of vehicles carrying visitors to the guerrillas’ celebrations.

More than a dozen journalists also covered the event despite threats by the Magahat paramilitary group that they would kill those who will cover the anniversary celebrations.

In a press conference after the main program, Utok and Front 16 political officer Ka Edroy condemned threats made by Magahat leader Loloy Tejero as part of a single act by the paramilitary group, the Philippine Information Agency and the Aquino government.

“It was the PIA who disseminated Tejero’s threat to kill journalists who will cover our celebrations and it is proof they are colluding in this criminal act,” Ka Edroy said.

Philippine Army public information officer Col. Benjamin Hao however belied the NPA’s accusation as well as claims of increased strength and influence.

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Loved and welcomed. A cultural presentation showing how the NPA guerillas are welcomed and loved by the masses.

No SOMO violations by Philippine Army

“The threat of the Magahats, if it is true, is of their own doing.  We do not have anything to do about it,” Hao said.

“If journalists have problems on that, we will provide necessary assistance if they request from us, the PNP (Philippine National Police) or they can file an appropriate case,” Hao added.

The government army spokesperson belied their checkpoints were directed against the NPA and their supporters. He said no operation is conducted to violate the suspension of military operations (SOMO) with the NPA. The checkpoints, Hao claimed, were for the tower posts of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

There were no reports of NGCP towers under threat of attack in Kitcharao town where the NPA held their celebrations, however.

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A big celebration. A huge crowd of supporters, well-wishers and guests attended the anniversary celebrations despite being organized and hosted by a single NPA front, the Guerilla Front 16 in Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte. Insiders say GF 16 now has at least five full-sized companies.

 

AFP records

Hao also dismissed Madlos’s statements as “highly exaggerated”.

He said that based on AFP records, the NPA strength of 2,035 has gone down to 1,691 followers this year. He added that the NPA’s most significant decline is in the number of their guerilla fronts, which used to be 29 but is now down to 24.

Hao said further that out of the 547 NPA-influenced barangays, it is now down to 413.  On firearms count, he said the NPA lost 101 firearms this year.  “They also lost a lot of leaders, especially Commander Parago,” Hao added.

“These are contrary to what are being claimed by the NPA spokesman of Mindanao (Madlos)…So wherever he got his number, he is now accountable to his boss in The Netherlands,” Hao said, referring to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.

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Huge crowd. Part of the crowd who braved the difficult trek up and down the mountainous village, Philippine Army checkpoints and the Magahat threat of murder against attendees.

Festive mood

Despite threats by the Magahat and the presence of checkpoints on roads leading to the venue, the celebrations started on time this year.

To the delight of the crowd, the performers did not mind rolling on the ground rendered muddy by the intermittent rains.

Unlike last year, tents were put up to protect the crowd from the sun and the rain.

Before lunch time, dozens of lechon (whole roast pig) arrived strapped on “skylab” motorcycles that were served with fried chicken and rice.

Youthful NPA fighters took over the stage and sang as their guests started trekking back down to the main roads at around two in the afternoon.

On spots along the mountain roads, skylabs laden with big canisters were parked and ice cream was offered for free to the visitors.

The Philippine Army checkpoint at the corner of the provincial road and the national highway was gone by the time the main body of the attendees made their way back home. # (News and photos by Raymund B. Villanueva)

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Ready to fight. While saying the Magahat group is not present in their area, Guerilla Front 16 said they are willing to face the paramilitary and the Philippine Army if they dared to disrupt their celebrations.

 

CPP’s 47th anniversary celebs in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte

47th agusan
Ka Edroy, political officer of the New People’s Army’s Guerrilla Front 16 in Agusan del Norte, was among the leaders of today’s public celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 47th anniversary.

About three thousand supporters and invitees braved the difficult terrain, intermittent rains and Philippine Army checkpoints to attend one of the rebels’ year’s biggest events.

The CPP and the NPA condemned threats made by the paramilitary group Magahat through one of its leaders Loloy Tejero earlier they will kill journalists who will cover the event.

“The fact that it was the Philippine Information Agency which spread the criminal threat against journalists by the bandit group Magahat shows that they are working together on this,” the guerrilla said.

He also condemned the AFP for putting up checkpoints on roads leading to the celebration site.

“They violate their own ceasefire declarations, because they should stay inside their camps and let the people attend our celebrations,” Edroy said.
The event ended at two o’clock with much singing led by the guerrillas themselves.

Agusan Del Norte
December 26, 2015

Stop the killings of indigenous peoples and advocates in Mindanao!

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(Photo: Dionel Campos at ALCADEV school)

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is outraged by the killing rampage of paramilitary groups and State security forces in Mindanao against Lumad activists, environmentalists, human rights defenders, educators and advocates for the indigenous peoples. CPA condemns these killings in the highest terms possible.

The long-time collusion of notorious paramilitary groups and State security forces in Mindanao resulted in the long list of killings, enforced disappearances, evacuations against the Lumads and advocates for peace, human rights and environment. The recent spate of killings in Mindanao mirrors the height of impunity under the BS Aquino regime. In his last year in power, BS Aquino is unleashing its deadly attack against human rights, environmental defenders and peace advocates.

Based on data provided by KARAPATAN, on September 1, 2015, two Lumad leaders and a champion for indigenous people’s education in Mindanao were killed in Surigao del Sur. Emerito Samarca, the executive director of ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development) was gunned down by paramilitary forces Mahagat/Bagani within the ALCADEV campus in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Samarca was found dead in a classroom in Alcadev with a stab wound, and his neck, arms and legs tied up. On the other hand, Dionel Campos, chairperson of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo were killed by the same paramilitary forces while they were coming out of a house in Diatagon, Surigao del Sur.

2014_June_ALcadev foundation day

(Photo: Emerito Samarca, third from left)

KARAPATAN further stated that two days prior to the killing, the paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani Force and elements of the 36th IB encamped at the ALCADEV school compound and occupied the function hall and parts of the school grounds. During the encampment, the Magahat group threatened the school’s faculty members, staffs and community members that they will massacre the community if the people will not leave in two days.

On August 31, 2015, the MAGAHAT group burned down the community cooperative store of MAPASU while indiscriminately firing around the community. Samarca, according to initial report was held and detained by some armed members of Magahat before he was killed. On the evening of August 31, the Alcadev faculty and most of the residents in Han-ayan went to Km. 16 for safety. At around 4 a.m., Magahat Forces went from house to house in Km. 16 and ordered the residents to get out of their houses and go to the center of the community. That was when Campos and Sinzo were met by a volley of gunfire from brothers Loloy and Bobby Tejero of the Magahat/Bagani Force.

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(Photo: This picture was taken on August 31 at around 9:30 am of elements of the 36th IBPA at the school shed at the entrance to ALCADEV. The soldiers slept in the TRIFPSS school building the day before and occupied ALCADEV’s function hall. This shed is right across the MAPASU coop that was burned down later that afternoon.)

Magahat members also confiscated all cellphones and cameras from the residents and ALCADEV staff and remaining visitors in the community.
ALCADEV is an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth – the Manobo, Banwaon, Higanon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa of Surigao del Norte and Sur and Agusan Norte and Sur. ALCADEV have been established by Lumads themselves with the help of cause-oriented groups. However, instead of recognizing their valuable contribution, the Lumad community school has been subjected to harassment and malicious accusations of the 36th IB and their rabid paramilitary groups that ALCADEV is a NPA school.

The killing rampage by the Magahat forces also resulted to the massive evacuation of more than 4,000 Lumad families from their communities in Surigao del Sur.

We should hold BS Aquino accountable to these heinous crimes committed against people. We also call on peace loving people to support the indigenous peoples in Mindanao at these difficult times. We should support them in their calls to demand justice for the victims. We also urged the government to conduct an investigation and prosecute the Mahagat/Bagani forces. Lastly, we call for the immediate pull out of military in indigenous communities, disbanding and dismantling of paramilitary forces in Mindanao. ***

(All photos are from Karapatan-CARAGA)