*Spanish Translation follows (by Google translate)
Appeal for Action:
Five Manobo massacred by 1st Special Forces Battalion
|UA Date :
||August 30, 2015
|UA Case :
||Massacre/Extrajudicial Killing, Frustrated Killing, Use of Civilian in Police and/or Military Operations as Guides and/or Shield, Use of Schools, Medical, Religious and other Public Places for Military Purpose, Endangerment of Civilians
– Male, 17years old
– Male, 19 years old
– Manobo farmer
– Male, 14 years old
– Male, 70 years old
– Manobo farmer
– Male, 70 years old
– Manobo farmer
– 15 years old
– Manobo farmer
|Place of Incident :
||Sitio Mandum, Brgy. Mendis, Pangantucan, Bukidnon
|Date of Incident :
||August 18, 3015
|Alleged Perpetrator(s) :
||3rd Company of the1st Special Forces Battalion under the ground commander Capt. Balatbat ; Col. Nasser Lidasan as Battalion Commander
Account of the Incident:
On August 18, 2015, Herminio Samia, 70, his son Jobert, 20, his grandson Norman, 13 and his nephews Emer andWelmer Somina had lunch at his house at Sitio Mandum, Brgy. Mendis, Pangantucan, Bukidnon. A 15 year-old relative whose name is withheld was also with them.
At around 3p.m., they heard a series of gun fire from the forest. Jobert immediately suggested to go to a safer place but Herminio advised otherwise. Herminio can no longer take long walks for he is old and blind. He said they were civilians and they have nothing to do with the fight. The gun fire lasted for more than one hour.
At 5p.m., when the gun firehad subsided, they heard someone from outside the house shouted, “Kayong mga NPA na nandyan sa itaas ng bahay, lumabas kayo diyan at bumaba dito!” (You NPA inside the house get out and get down here!) The boys were forced to come down and immediately saw the soldiers who ordered them to raise their hands. Herminio, on the other hand, explained it is difficult for him to go down because he is blind but a soldier retorted while cursing, “Litse, bakit hindi makababa ay meron namang hagdan!? (How can you not come down when there is a stair”). Herminio obliged and struggled to come down the house. Being blind, Herminio did not know where to go and started to stray until he reached a coffee tree. The soldiers shot Herminio. Then they shot his nephew Emer. The eye witness was the next target but he was able to run. He hid behind big rocks, which became his cover until he could reach the house of Orenio Samia, his uncle.
The next day, 27 residents, including barangay councilor Isabero Sulda checked Herminio’s place. When they arrived they saw about 22 soldiers who ordered them to line up. The soldiers took pictures of the 27 villagers and listed down their names. They were also warned not to look at the soldiers as they collected the dead bodies.
They saw five dead bodies in the vicinity of Herminio’s house. Herminio Samia’s body was found near the coffee tree. He was shot at the stomach, his intestines exposed and has an exit wound at the back. Emer Somina’s body was found near the house’s door. Norman Samia was found a few steps away, with his ear removed from his head and his jaw broken. Welmer’s left hand was cut off from his wrist and had a gunshot on his nose, which disfigured his face. Jobert’s body was found near Welmer’s.
The soldiers provided the residents with plastic canvass to transport the remains. They were ordered to take the bodies to the grassy part on the top of the hill where they will be loaded to a helicopter. At the hilltop, the residents were told to prepare the area where the helicopter could land. But then it rained. So they were told to move the bodies to the barangay hall at Madum, Mendis. The soldiers went with them.
The 15 year old witness, after having narrated to his uncle what he saw, was traumatized and has not spoken since then.
As of this writing, members of the the 1st Special Forces Battalion are still encamped at the barangay hall and at the day care center in the same village where the Samias and Seminos were killed.
Send letters, emails or fax messages to call on the BS Aquino government to:
- Immediately form an independent investigation composed of representative from human rights groups, churches, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the massacre of Herminio, Jobert and Norman Samia and Emer and Welmer Somina.
- Immediately prosecute the soldiers involved in the massacre;
- Withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians.
- Remind the Philippine Government that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
- de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-1908
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com
Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, (+632) 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.
URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., B
rgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
On Aug. 18, 2015 it was reported that army troopers belonging to the 1st Special Forces battalion killed five individuals whom they presented as members of the revolutionary group – the new people’s army –following a raid at, Brgy. Mendis in the town of Pangantucan Bukidnon province.
However, the killed individuals were not rebels but innocent Lumads and what transpired was not a raid but a massacre.
According to the initial investigation conducted by human rights group Karapatan, the victims Jobert Samia, Hermino Samia, Norman Samia, Emer Somina and Elmer Somina are all members of the Manobo Farmers Association, a local organization of lumad peasants in the area. Two of the victims were minors.
Accordingly, at around 3:30 in the afternoon as the victims were in a farm hut attending to their crops, a volley of fire occurred nearby. The victims, thinking it would be wise to avoid the gunfire and let it subside, chose to stay in their farm hut. A few moments later, several men who presented themselves as army soldiers came into their house and ordered the men to come out. They victims were then fired at by the soldiers killing all five of them. This was all witnessed by a lone survivor – a 15 year old boy who ran as the soldiers began to shoot.
As of this time, human rights groups are conducting a thorough investigation on the events that transpired.
This is not the first time that the soldiers belonging to the 1st Special Forces Battalion were involved in incidents of this kind. A few months back, the same unit was responsible for indiscriminately firing at Lumads who were asserting their rights to the land killing four individuals in an incident which was known as the “Bugna Massacre”. Also, this was the same unit that fired at unarmed birdwatchers at Dalwangan Bukidnon, injuring several foreigners and their local guide.
Kalumbay Northern Mindanao Region and Karapatan-NMR calls for an independent body to conduct a fact finding mission to unearth facts relevant to the incident. Also, we urge the local governments to extend immediate humanitarian assistance to the families of the victims and safeguard the lone survivor who is currently experiencing a trauma because of the incident.
Fr. Christopher Ablon, KARAPATAN-NMR: Mobile – 09168263463
1er Fuerzas Especiales Killed no lumads NPA
El 18 de agosto, 2015 se informó de que soldados del ejército pertenecientes a la primera de las Fuerzas Especiales del batallón mataron a cinco personas a las que presentaron como miembros del grupo revolucionario – el ejército del nuevo pueblo -siguiendo una redada en, Brgy. Mendis en la ciudad de la provincia de Bukidnon Pangantucán.
Sin embargo, las personas que murieron no eran rebeldes sino lumads inocentes y lo que ocurrió no fue un ataque sino una masacre.
De acuerdo con la investigación inicial llevada a cabo por el grupo de derechos humanos Karapatan, las víctimas Jobert Samia, Herminio Samia, Norman Samia, Emer Somina y Elmer Somina son todos los miembros de la Asociación de Agricultores manobo, una organización local de campesinos Lumad de la zona. Dos de las víctimas eran menores de edad.
En consecuencia, alrededor de las 3:30 de la tarde, mientras las víctimas estaban en una cabaña de la granja de asistir a sus cultivos, una salva de incendio se produjo cerca. Las víctimas, pensando que sería aconsejable evitar los disparos y deje que se desploma, optaron por quedarse en su choza de granja. Unos momentos más tarde, varios hombres que se presentaron como soldados del ejército entraron en su casa y ordenaron a los hombres a salir. Ellos víctimas fueron luego dispararon contra los soldados matando a los cinco de ellos. Todo esto fue presenciado por un único sobreviviente – un niño de 15 años que se presentó como los soldados comenzaron a disparar.
A partir de este momento, los grupos de derechos humanos están llevando a cabo una investigación exhaustiva sobre los hechos ocurridos.
Esta no es la primera vez que los soldados pertenecientes a la primera Batallón de Fuerzas Especiales estuvieron involucrados en incidentes de este tipo. Hace unos meses, la misma unidad fue responsable de manera indiscriminada a disparar contra lumads que fueron valer sus derechos a la tierra matando a cuatro personas en un incidente que fue conocido como el “Bugna Massacre”. Además, se trataba de la misma unidad que disparó contra los observadores de aves desarmados en Dalwangan Bukidnon, hiriendo a varios extranjeros y su guía local.
Kalumbay Mindanao del Norte Región y Karapatan-RMN pide un órgano independiente para llevar a cabo una misión de investigación a desenterrar los hechos relacionados con el incidente. Asimismo, instamos a los gobiernos locales para ampliar la asistencia humanitaria inmediata a los familiares de las víctimas y salvaguardar el único sobreviviente que actualmente está experimentando un trauma debido al incidente.
Padre Christopher Ablon, KARAPATAN-RMN: Mobile – 0916826346