Manilakbayan to AFP: Arrest and dismantle paramilitary groups

QUEZON CITY – From one Surigao native to another.

A lumad youth who lost her father and a school director from paramilitary killings demanded Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri to arrest the killers to show his sincerity to bring justice to the Manobo community in Surigao del Sur.

Michelle Campos, daughter of slain Datu Dionel Campos, reacted to Irriberi’s interview in the Philippine Daily Inquirer where he admitted the slain ALCADEV community school director Emerito Samarca was his relative. Irriberi also hails from Surigao del Sur.

“If blood is thicker than water, and if he really wants peace and justice, then he should arrest the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary who killed my father, Tatay Emok and Datu Sinzo,” Campos said.

Campos, who is one of the main speakers of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao campaign last month, is dismayed that the killers are still freely roaming in her province, as attested by Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel, who likewise urged for the arrest and disbandment of the paramilitary groupd..

“As simple as it may be, the fact still remains that the killers, Garito Layno and brothers Loloy and Bobby Tejero who were members of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani Force are still roaming free and yet to be arrested,” she said.

Campos also challenged the AFP head to listen to the Manobo evacuees who have been staying for three months at the Tandag provincial gym, who want to return to their villages without fear of the Magahat.

Manilakbayan spokesperson Kerlan Fanagel also called on authorities to dismantle not just Magahat-Bagani but also other paramilitary groups.

It has been three (3) months since the massacre, but despite of the warrants of arrest issued against them, the perpetrators still roam free.

“The perpetrators are bold to massacre fellow Lumad in public because they know their actions run parallel to the doctrines of Oplan Bayanihan, to kill with impunity,” said Fanagel.

According to Fanagel, Mindanao has 24 paramilitary groups such as the Alamara, Task Force Kitaqom, Calpet-Egua, New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR), Bungkatol Liberation Front (BULIF) and many others who are armed and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to augment the states’ counterinsurgency campaign.

The Magahat-Bagani paramilitary group already had arrest warrants.

Fanagel also identified the people behind the paramilitary groups who should be arrested for the death of 63 lumad: Nestor Apas, Laris Masaloon, Ongging Masaloon, Lumansad Sibogan, Pogsing Bubunan and Alambi Salangani, all leaders of Alamara, and all of whom are still actively seen among those with the soldiers in several military operations in Davao del Norte, and Butchoy Salusad, leader of paramilitary group, NIPAR in Bukidnon.

He said the AFP threatens lumad, forcibly recruits them as paramilitaries and use them to kill fellow Lumad.

He added that the paramilitaries, as well as the AFP and their trained CAFGUs and SCAAs,  are part of the investment defense force that serve to secure the interest of local and foreign mining and plantation investors in Mindanao.

He added that, lumads of ‘Manilakbayan’ demanded a quick response, and that on December 10, on the 65th year commemoration of the human rights day, the Lumad have had it with the Aquino administration’s lip service to upholding human rights.

“Should these demands remain unresolved on December 10, the Lumad hold Aquino and Iriberri responsible for the injustice suffered by the victims of Lianga massacre, by the 63 victims of Lumad killed during Aquino’s term, and the massive displacement as consequences of their persistence to push through with the counter-insurgency measure Oplan Bayanihan” Fanagel concluded.

Kerlan Fanagel
Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2015

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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.

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