“This is reminiscent of the Arroyo’s war against the Filipino people, at a time when it was reeling from its isolation from the people and at the same time in a scurry to beat the deadline of its counterinsurgency program. Killings continue to go up,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said upon receiving initial report on the killing of three persons in Surigao del Sur this morning, September 1.
“And, just like the Arroyo administration, BS Aquino is expected to cover up these crimes and avoid this issue like it has not happened at all,” Palabay said.
“We call on all peace-loving Filipinos and the international community to press for the immediate dismantling of paramilitary groups involved in this dirty war against the Filipino people. We also demand the immediate pull out of the 36th Infantry Battalion in Lumad communities in Lianga, Surigao del Sur,” Palabay said.
Emerito Samarca, executive director of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), a self-initiated school for the Lumad, was found dead on September 1 with a stab wound inside one of the classrooms in the school compound in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
Also killed in Km. 16, some three kilometres from Han-ayan, were Dionel Campos, chairperson of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and his cousin, Bello Sinzo. The two were shot by members of the Magahat/Bagani force in the presence of their community members in Km. 16.
Two days prior to the killing, the 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.
August 31, 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. He was last seen tied around the neck, his hands and feet were also tied. He was brought to one of the classrooms.
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.
Magahat members also confiscated all cellphones and cameras from the residents and ALCADEV staff and remaining visitors in the community.
As of this writing, the residents of Han-ayan, with the remains of Samarca, Campos and Sinzo are on their way to Tandag, Surigao del Sur.
“The Bagani paramilitary and the 36th IB has long been accusing self-help Lumad school ALCADEV as NPA school, killings the teachers and organizers in the community, consequently depriving the Lumad of their education,” Palabay said.
Magahat group was also involved in the killing of brothers Crisanto and Ely Tagobol on August 28 on Brgy. Siagao, San Miguel, Agusan del Sur.
“With so much blood in the hands of BS Aquino, the regime cannot simply wash away its stench. The mounting call for justice for those killed will not be silenced,” Palabay said. “BS Aquino and the AFP’s attempt to cover up does not work. More Filipinos will hold them accountable for their blood debts,” Palabay said.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.