Thousands join funeral march for 3 Surigao lumad martyrs

Amid calls for justice, thousands of Lumads, peasants, workers and other progressives in Mindanao joined the separate funerals over the weekend for the three men killed by a paramilitary group in Surigao del Sur.

Tribal school director Emerito Samarca, and Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo were hailed as “martyrs” as they were laid to rest almost two weeks after they were killed by the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani Force, in suspected collusion with soldiers, on Sept. 1 in Diatagon village, Lianga.

Justice remains uncertain, even as Malacañang expressed support to the investigation on the incident, while the military issued denials of its involvement. Meanwhile, families of the victims, Lumad leaders and Diatagon residents who were themselves victims in the rampage, stand by their testimonies about military presence during the killings. Witnesses reportedly continue to receive threats, to prevent them from telling the truth.

“We will honor the deaths of our recent martyrs through our strong commitment to the truth,” said the Lumad group Kahugpungan Alang sa Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (Kasalo-Caraga).

Read more of this story at Thousands join funerals of 3 Surigao Sur ‘martyrs’ from bulatlat.com.

View photos of the funeral march at Thousands attend burial of school director in Surigao del Sur from davaotoday.com

 

Manobo evacuees surprise Mar Roxas with blunt answers

In Tandag City last Tuesday, former Interior Secretary and presidential aspirant Mar Roxas visited the Manobo evacuees camped at the Tandag Sports Complex.

But according to this report and video from the indie journalist group Kodao Productions, Roxas appeared to be unaware of the extent of the atrocities as he listened to a Manobo recount the murder of their school head and lumad leaders.

Roxas interrupted the lumad as he turned his attention on the person holding the camera, “Who are you?” he asked, and then requested the video to be cut off.

The report said that after this talk with the lumad, Roxas refused request of the provincial governor to continue to visit the other evacuees. Roxas said that he would ask authorities to investigate the matter and denied that the perpetrators of the massacre are part of the Philippine Army.

Read Kodao’s story here

Reply to President Aquino’s hand-washing on the recent Lumad killings

(Photo from Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command PR shows Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad being conferred a lumad tribute by lumads linked to the AFP)

(This is the statement of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines Northern Mindanao Region on President Benigno Aquino III’s response to the militarization and killings in Surigao del Sur and Bukidnon and other areas in Mindanao. You can visit their website at http://www.rmp-nmr.org/)

Instead of ordering an investigation, the president, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) gives a careless statement when he said, “There is no campaign to kill anybody in this country. There is a campaign to go after everybody who commits crimes, regardless of who they are.”

His pronouncement is both a denial of what is going on, and at the same time an accusation targeted at the victims butchered by the government forces and supporting paramilitary minions.

While the public document of the government’s Internal Peace and Security Plan, dubbed “Bayanihan,” does not have a word on the killing rampage of the AFP, the president’s statement of full support and endorsement of the Investment Defense Forces – formally the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary (SCAA) and informally the paramilitary groups – is a standing order for the military’s guiding principle. At the core of the military’s actions is the interest to protect business firms – not the people it has sworn to protect.

If President Aquino says the campaign is to go after a person “who commits crimes” and dismisses the killings as justified actions of the military, then he is implying that those massacred and murdered by his forces were criminals. His statement is consistent with the military’s claim that they have been going after members of the New People’s Army, a statement that has been exposed to be a lie by the communities they have targeted and by the people who have seen their smears in the aftermath of their slaughter (see: Fact-Finding Mission Report on the Pangantucan Massacre).

The Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) is an award-winning educational institution that has a special curriculum on agriculture, technical and vocational skills. One of the victims of the recent spate of killings is ALCADEV’s executive director, Emerito Samarca. Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) is an organization of the Manobo community in Surigao del Sur, which has been launching campaigns based on the stand of its members – the primary need to protect their ancestral domain from investments that have long been trying to get ahold of their resources. One of those killed was the head of this organization, and the other his cousin also a member of this group. They were serving the people. Yes, serving the people does not entail killing any of the citizens. Those serving the people were the ones killed. The government killed them.

Sr. Ma. Famita N. Somogod, MSM
Coordinator, RMP-NMR Inc

Four-year old Manobo dies of illness in Tandag evacuation

(photo of Manobo girl sleeping at Tandag Sports Comples/ courtesy of Kilab Multimedia)

A Manobo couple, who joined thousands to flee their residence, lost a daughter after she fell ill inside the provincial sports center in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur early Tuesday morning.

Rinabel, 4, the youngest daughter of the couple Maribel and Rexan Enriquez, died at around 3:00 a.m.

Maribel, in previous news reports, said her daughter had asthma and was “really sick” on Monday.

Julieto Trinidal, 29, who teaches multi-grade in the Tribal Filipino Program for Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) in San Agustin told Davao Today that Rinabel was one of their students in day care.

“Diri lang nigrabe ang sakit sa bata (The child’s sickness worsened here),” he said, referring to the evacuation center shared by almost 3,000 other evacuees.

Trinidal also lamented that they worry where to get the medicines for their children.

Read more of this account in Davao Today’s story http://davaotoday.com/main/human-rights/parents-lost-youngest-daughter-in-evacuation-center-in-surigao-del-sur-2/

Save Our Schools also call for kind donations such as medicines, food, water, sleeping materials for some 2,400 Manobo evacuees now in Tandag, Surigao del Sur.