Rural missionaries back house probe pushed by Makabayan bloc on military atrocities against Lumad school and community in Surigao del Sur
Manila, Philippines- The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay, supports the House Resolution No. 2358 filed yesterday by Makabayan bloc lawmakers including Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap, Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Luz Ilagan and Emmie de Jesus of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio of ACT Partylist and Terry Ridon of Kabataan Partylist.
The house resolution pushes for an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the extra-judicial killings of Emerito Samarca, executive director of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev), Manobo Lumad leader Dionel Campos and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo, last September 1, 2015 in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur which allegedly perpetrated by the elements of the Philippine army and para-military group Magahat-Bagani Force.
“We reiterate our call for the justice of Samarca, Campos, Sinzo and other victims of human rights violations among Lumad peoples. It is certain that the rights abuses is escalating and worsening under a government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan and justice is a long way before it will be served”, stated by Sr. Francis Añover, RSM, RMP National Coordinator.
RMP believes that the the congressional investigation is a significant measure, to identify the perpetrators, expose the oppression of the Aquino government against the Mindanao Lumads, trigger a national and international condemnation and put a stop on Lumad killings and attacks on their self-initiated schools.
Various human rights abuses have been documented by rights groups such as forcible evacuation of lumad peoples from Sitio Han-ayan, Lianga town who were being threatened to leave their community and school by the contingent of 36th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) , 75th IBPA, Special Forces and the notorious para-military group Mahagat-Bagani Force. On August 18, five Manobo lumads, including a 70-year old blind farmer and two minors, were massacred by elements of 1st Special Forces Batallion in Pangantucan, Bukidnon. On August 3, two farm workers, Daniel Lampusay, a former volunteer lumad teacher and his brother Ejun were illegally arrested and detained by the Philippine military in Sitio Kibungkol, Brgy. Hindangan, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental last August 3, 2015.
“The real reason why the Lumad communities are being attacked by state forces is due to their defense of their ancestral lands. Lumad peoples continue to be victims of massive land grabbing, displacement, triggered by large scale operations of foreign corporations and at the same time, expansion of thousand of hectares of plantations in Mindanao. The Philippine Army and its para-military groups commit grave human rights abuses as clearing up operations for the entry of big foreign and local corporations,” Añover said.
“Again we appeal to the good heart of the people, such as from church sectors to join the demand for justice for the Lumad victims and their struggle for life and rights to their ancestral lands. As Pope Francis has declared, ‘among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that giving a voice to the cry of the poor’. It is our responsibility to help the rural poor, especially the Lumad peoples who are fighting for their lives and existence,” Añover said. ###
Sr. Francis Añover, RSM
National Coordinator, RMP
Tel.No: (02) 961-5094
Email ad firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://ruralmissionariesPH.weebly.com
Twitter: rmp@natl, Facebook: facebook.com/rmp.no
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).