Surigao Sur Gov to Army: disband, disarm Bagani forces

(Read more http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2015/09/05/surigao-sur-gov-to-army-disband-disarm-bagani-forces/)

ByErwin Mascariñason September 5 2015 5:35 pm

TANDAG CITY (MindaNews/05 September) — Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel wants the Philippine Army to “disband and disarm” the Bagani Forces, a paramilitary group composed of Lumads (Indigenous peoples) suspected to have been responsible for the killing of three persons Tuesday dawn, including the executive director of an alternative learning center in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

“We have been having this kind of problems for the past six years and the Bagani militiamen have been the cause of this problem. This has to stop. The only solution here is for the Army to disband and disarm the Bagani forces. The Army helped in creating this militia group then they should find means to stop and put an end to them,” said Pimentel.

The governor made this pronouncement after visiting an evacuation center here where some 2,416 villagers from Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur, sought shelter following Tuesday’s killings.

Displaced villagers from four towns in Surigao del Sur wait in line for their turn to receive their daily ration of water at the sports center turned evacuation area in Tandag City, September 5, 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas[/caption]

The executive director of an alternative learning center for Indigenous Peoples (Lumads) and two other members were killed allegedly by the paramilitary group, Bagani Forces, at around 4 a.m. Tuesday in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, Karapatan Caraga said.

Killed were Emerito Samarca, 54, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev); Dionel Campos, chair of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), a Lumad organization protesting mining operations, land conversions and plantations, and Campos’ cousin, Bello Sinzo.

Karapatan-Caraga narrated that at around 4 a.m. on September 1, “known elements” of the Magahat-Bagani “opened fire at Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo as community members in Km. 16, Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur were roused from bed and forced to gather in the middle of the community.”

At around the same time, Samarca’s body “was found in one of the one of the schoolrooms, tied around the neck and extremities, with a stab wound.”

“We know”

Pimentel made it clear that he knows that the Army has been working with the Bagani forces in the past.

“It would be hard for the Army to deny that they know these people because members of this Bagani force have been seen within their headquarters. We have seen this militia group carry between 20 to 30 high-powered firearms, which costs around 150,000 pesos each. Where did this tribal group get their assault rifles and ammunitions? Why allow this group to just walk around carrying such firearms?” asked the governor.

“We are appearing inutile as we are helpless to do anything. These people are acting like gods,” said Pimentel.

Colonel Isidro Purisima, commander of the Army 402ndBrigade under the 4thInfantry Division said they will support the province on its action against the armed group.

“We strongly condemn the action of this armed group and we will support the local government unit and the police in conducting law enforcement operation against armed lawless elements. We call on the Bagani forces to surrender as well as any other armed group in the area which includes the New People’s Army (NPA),” said Purisima.

Community members have accused the group of Datu Calpi Egua to be behind the deaths, attacks and harassments in several villages across five towns.

But Purisima said Datu Calpit is “not the only Bagani here in Caraga. There is an ongoing tribal war between several IP groups against the NPA. It is not the Army doing these actions but those IP’s who have pledged to fight against communist aggression.”

Purisima said they “never neglected our duty. In fact (there were) several instances in the past where we took action against the Bagani forces,” he said, citing the incident against Bagani forces on May 11, 2015 at a mining company in Carrascal town.

“Process”

Purisima emphasized that there is a process that they follow in the apprehension of such groups.

“Our primary objective is the suppression of insurgency. This is law enforcement incident which falls on the police. In this case we have due process and a case should be filed. Even suspected NPA we can’t directly arrest without warrant of arrest,” he said.

The provincial police office has named and identified three suspects who are allegedly behind the killings.

“We have identified Bobby Tejero, Loloy Tejero and Garito Layno who are going to face charges of multiple murder and arson,” said Sr. Supt. Narciso Verdadero.

As of September 4, 2015, the number of internally displaced persons in the evacuation center at the Surigao del Sur Sports Center in Tandag City had reached 501 families or 2,416 individuals.

Tuesday’s killings triggered the mass evacuations.

Condemnations

In a statement, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) called on government to ensure the safety of the Lumads through the pull-out of the 36thIB in Lianga and through the “dismantling (of) the AFP organized and supported paramilitary forces,” to give justice to the victims and to “permit the conduct of independent fact-finding missions.”

Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas, civil military operations officer of the 36thIB told MindaNews on Tuesday night that they were surprised their unit was implicated because the area is “not part of our jurisdiction.”

The NCCP called on authorities to “stop the militarization in Mindanao by ending the government anti-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan that has been linked to extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, trumped up charges, tortures, massacres, and displacement of thousands of individuals” and to resume the peace talks between government and the National Democratic Front.

The Save Our Schools Network, in a statement, demanded justice for Samarca, Campos and Sinzo.

“The Aquino government should be held accountable for all these violations. It is responsible for the formation and arming of the paramilitary groups, the paving the way for the entry of  large-scale destructive projects in the ancestral domains, the sowing of disunity among IPs, and the killings that have claimed the lives of many,” it said.(Erwin Mascarinas / MindaNews)

Fair Compensation and other Prerequisites to Mining for Development

(To read the entire article, please click on: http://www.unrisd.org/road-to-addis-magno)

This contribution is published as part of the Think Piece Series The Road To Addis and Beyond, launched to coincide with the third and final drafting session of the outcome document of this summer’s Third International Conference on Financing for Development. In this Series, global experts discuss a range of topics complementary to the UNRISD research project on the Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization on how to fund social development and raise provocative or alternative perspectives that can generate further ideas and debates. Please share your thoughts on this article in the comments space below.

This piece challenges conventional approaches to a country’s economic development by suggesting a departure from the mainstream “mining for development” approach. It suggests that mining ventures should follow a set of preconditions that take into account other significant factors such as fair taxing schemes that benefit the state, clear transparency and accountability mechanisms, and an expanded monitoring scheme that covers environmental and social impacts of extractive activities.

 Cielo Magno is Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines’ School of Economics and the National Coordinator of Bantay Kita, the Publish What You Pay Coalition in the Philippines.

Introduction

States engage in the extraction of natural resources to generate capital to finance development. Many nations have benefited from doing this. The temptation to cash in on these resources is difficult to resist. Ironically, there are also many mineral-rich countries that have extracted their minerals and yet are still lagging behind in economic development despite their natural endowments. Apparently, extraction of these minerals does not automatically guarantee development.

Mineral resources are finite and non-renewable and should serve the interests of present and future generations. Using these resources now deprives future generations of these minerals. The challenge of mineral-based development is ensuring that the returns from extraction are invested in human capital and infrastructure to support development and ensure long-term benefit from the activities. Strong government regulations should also be in place to reduce damage to the environment.

The limits to the mainstream approach to mining

The mainstream approach suggests that mining contributes to development by allowing companies to extract minerals in remote and economically depressed areas. It argues that this will trigger economic activities by transferring skills and technology, creating employment, increasing the demand for consumer goods and encouraging the proliferation of small and medium enterprises (Remy 2003). This thinking assumes that extractive companies can lead the development of poor communities which are richly endowed with minerals. The main role of government in this framework is to attract investments by offering competitive fiscal packages.

If this were true, why then do we have countries with huge mining investments but with a low ranking in the Human Development Index? Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Sudan were among the top five sub-Saharan African host countries of inward FDI flow in 2005. They were also the top four sub-Saharan oil exporters. However, these countries ranked very low in the United Nations Human Development Index (see UNCTAD, 2007 for a summary). Contrary to achieving development, the mainstream approach makes countries race to the bottom by continuously reducing their tax rates and providing other fiscal incentives to attract mining investors. This has left countries with very little tax income to finance their development agenda.

This experience is too familiar in the Philippines. The Philippines offers a very competitive fiscal package for mining companies. But the sector contributes very little to national development. The total mining contribution to the country’s GDP was on average 0.7% in 2012-2014 (MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau), 2015). At the same time, mining companies do not significantly contribute to poverty alleviation in the host communities. The following table shows the data on poverty incidence at the national level and in those provinces which host large scale mining activities (NSCB (National Statistical Coordination Board), 2012). While poverty incidence in these provinces may have declined from 2006 to 2012, at 30-60 percent it is still higher than the national average of 25-26 percent (except in Benguet and Zambales which host major and critical hubs of urban economic activity).

Figure 1: Poverty Incidence in the Philippines

Province Poverty Incidence among the Population (%)
Estimate (%)
2006 2009 2012
PHILIPPINES 26.6 26.3 25.2
Benguet 5.8 6.1 3.7
Zambales 23.6 17.3 16
Palawan 35.2 30.9 26.4
Albay 36.4 36.7 41
Masbate 53.6 56.3 51.3
Cebu 30.4 26.8 22.7
Eastern Samar 51.3 56.4 63.7
Leyte 38.4 36.3 39.2
Zamboanga del Norte 65.5 68.5 54.4
Compostela Valley 37.7 36.6 36.7
Agusan Del Norte 44.1 45.9 34.7
Suriago Del Norte 52.7 57.9 41.8
Suriage Del Sur 46.5 53.7 36

Source: National Statistical Coordination Board, 2012

Figure 2: 

NOTE: *Star markers to indicate mining provinces added by the author

Source: National Statistical Coordination Board, 2013

From the Race to the Bottom to Fair Compensation

Mining companies invest in a country because of the mineral deposits in a country. It is location-specific unlike other sectors like manufacturing where investors are more mobile, so it is legitimate to ask to what extent incentives are necessary at all. Competitive taxation combined with fiscal incentives basically makes these countries give away their minerals to companies for almost nothing. Worse, these competitive fiscal packages make extracting raw minerals cheaper than recycling what is already out there. It encourages consumerism and wastage of non-renewable resources. Taxing mines heavily allows governments to optimize the rate of extraction of their non-renewable resources. Having a few mines that are heavily taxed will likely reduce extraction in these areas, allowing governments to preserve some resources for future generations.

What the governments of mineral-rich developing countries should do is formulate fiscal policies that will ensure they get a fair share from the extraction of resources so they can in turn use these to finance the country’s development goals. A fair share should reflect payment for the actual value of the minerals as well as compensation or measures to prevent social, cultural and environmental damage caused by mining. Furthermore, governments should ensure that there is a transparent and accountable mechanism for spending and investing the returns from extraction. Spending and investment and even the social development programmes of companies should be linked to the sustainable development frameworks of national and local governments.

Governments could do more and follow Indonesia’s lead in developing a comprehensive policy that links taxation and incentive policies with the development of a downstream industry in the country. Indonesia is proposing an export tax on raw ore to reduce the over-exploitation of resources and encourage downstream processing of ore. In the mean time, mining companies are required to process raw ore in Indonesia under Mining Law No. 4/2009 and Regulation No. 7/20012 issued on February 6, 2012. The regulation specifies an export duty of 20% of the export price of certain ores and minerals. The country is also divesting foreign ownership of mining activities to varying degrees, depending on the level of mineral processing done by the company (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2014). This is a radical but welcome policy framework for the mineral sector as taxation and incentives given to companies and even the right to mine becomes conditional on the setting up of downstream industries in the country. The extraction of mineral resources is now premised on the industrial policy framework of the country.

Indonesia is currently experiencing a lot of pressure from different stakeholders to relax the current policies because of losses in income in the short term, which are resulting in gains for companies operating in other countries in the region. The ban on the export of raw ore in Indonesia, for example, is resulting in windfall income for nickel mining companies in the Philippines. However, Indonesia’s losses in the short run will result in bigger gains in the longer term when downstream processing of minerals is fully established in the country. What the other countries in the region like the Philippines should do is follow suit.

Biodiversity and climate change

With this in mind, we should be careful of recommending “mining for development” to all mineral-rich developing states. In some cases, this can be seen as nothing short of reckless. There are times when mining should not be considered at all. There are other things that are more valuable than the minerals underground. One of these is the country’s biodiversity which should be protected.

The Philippines, for example, sits on an estimated subterranean trove worth close to $840 billion (Minerals Development Council, 2007). But the country is also one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a biodiversity hotspot and a megadiverse country, placing it among the top priority areas for global conservation. A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region that is both a significant reservoir of biodiversity and is threatened with destruction. According to Conservation International, the remaining natural habitat in these biodiversity hotspots amounts to just 1.4 percent of the land surface of the planet, yet supports nearly 60 percent of the world’s plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. Some key biodiversity areas that are directly impacted by mining in the Philippines are Palawan, Samar, South Cotabato, Mindoro, Romblon, Agusan del Norte and Dinagat Island.

The Philippines has many endemic species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fish and invertebrates. In recent decades, natural and anthropogenic causes have cost the country a considerable number of species. Extraction of minerals is one of the most notable threats of the country’s biodiversity.

Aside from its biodiversity, another consideration is climate change. The Philippines is the third most vulnerable country in the world to weather-related extreme events, earthquakes and sea level rise (Kreft, Eckstein, Junghans, Kerestan, & Hagen, 2014). The country is exposed to typhoons, floods, landslides and droughts (World Bank, 2013). Mining activities can increase the risk of exposure to these extreme events.

Mining Preconditions

In developing countries like the Philippines—a country that has billions of dollars’ worth of minerals and a rich and complex biodiversity—it is difficult to simply pursue mining for development. If we are to do this, mining companies must be taxed heavily to get a fair share from the extraction of minerals. Countries should have mining industrial policy plans to anchor the mining activities and maximize the returns from extraction. Governments have to establish transparency and accountability mechanisms to ensure that proceeds from mining contribute to sustainable development. International voluntary mechanisms like the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) are a good place to start but are insufficient to address governance problems in mining given the current state of play. National governments should enact mechanisms like EITI to impose penalties on companies for non-compliance.

Yet EITI should also go beyond finances. A very important consideration in mining is the impact of extractive industries on countries’ biodiversity and their fragile environmental state. EITI should also monitor how companies are complying with environmental standards and how governments are implementing these standards. Environmental and social impact assessments of companies should be commissioned by multi-stakeholder groups like EITI, rather than by the companies themselves to add credibility to the process. Mining projects must be subjected to more rigorous tests and impact assessments that clearly establish that they are not exacerbating the impacts of climate change on and beyond mining-affected communities.

Mining in ecologically fragile and poverty-ridden states cannot be conducted without taking the social and environmental impacts of extraction into consideration. To attain development, we must apply these preconditions to our drive to mine our mineral treasure troves. Otherwise, we delude ourselves into believing that mining is helping us achieve sustainable development when it may actually be having the opposite effect.

REFERENCES
Kreft, S., D. Eckstein, L. Junghans, C. Kerestan, and U. Hagen. 2014. GLOBAL CLIMATE RISK INDEX 2015: Who Suffers Most From Extreme Weather Events? Weather-related Loss Events in 2013 and 1994 to 2013. Berlin: Germanwatch.

MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau). 2015. Mining Industry Statistics (D. o. E. a. N. Resources, Trans.).

Minerals Development Council. 2007. Investor’s Prospectus on Philippine Mining. Republic of the Philippines.

National Statistical Coordination Board. 2013. Philippine Poverty Statistics Portal. Retrieved October 5, 2013, from http://www.nscb.gov.ph/poverty/portal_/

NSCB (National Statistical Coordination Board). (2012). 2012 Philippine Poverty Statistics for Basic Sectors. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.nscb.gov.ph/poverty/dataCharts.asp

PricewaterhouseCoopers. 2014. Mining in Indonesia: Investment and Taxation Guide.

Remy, F. 2003. Mining Reform and the World Bank: Providing a Policy Framework for Development. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

UNCTAD. 2007. World Investment Report 2007: Transnational Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development: Geneva and New York: United Nations.

World Bank. 2013. Getting a Grip… on Climate Change in the Philippines. Washington, DC: World Bank.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cielo Magno is Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines’ School of Economics and the National Coordinator of Bantay Kita, the Publish What You Pay Coalition in the Philippines. She represents civil society in the multi-stakeholder group of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and a member of the Global Council of Publish What You Pay (PWYP). She is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms and Social Watch-Philippines. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in economics from the University of the Philippines. As a Fulbright scholar, she earned her PhD in Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University in Boston.

#StopLumadKillings: What you need to know

WHO ARE LUMADS?Meaning “born of the earth”,  Lumad is the term coined by indigenous peoples and their advocates in the late 1970s, according to the 1993 book “Ethnocide: Is it real?” published by the Media Mindanao News Service. It basically signifies the Lumads as the original inhabitants of Mindanao.

Lumads are said to be composed of 17 entholinguistic groups, all found in southern Philippines.

HOW MANY LUMADS HAVE BEEN KILLED?Human rights watchdogs and organizations of indigenous peoples and environmentalists have long raised the alarm over extrajudicial killings of Lumad leaders.

For more information, click this link:

http://tonyocruz.com/?p=4805

Online Petition: Repeal EO 546! Disband Paramilitary Groups and Militias in the Philippines!

Please click on https://www.change.org/p/president-bs-aquino-republic-of-the-philippines-secretary-of-national-defense-voltaire-gazmin-afp-chief-of-staff-general-gregorio-pio-catapang-chairman-of-commision-on-human-rights-jose-luis-ga-repeal-eo-546-disband-paramilitary-groups-and-militias-i?recruiter=16575232&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_page&utm_term=des-lg-share_petition-no_msg for the online petition.

Dear President Benigno S. Aquino III:

We, the undersigned, hold you to your electoral promise in 2010 that your office would repeal Executive Order 546 legalizing the formation and funding of state-sponsored armed civilian groups otherwise known as “force multipliers,” militias, auxiliary armed units, and civilian volunteer organizations.

This was in reaction to the Ampatuan Massacre where 58 civilians were killed by a combined force of 200 police elements and their armed civilian volunteers, under orders from a powerful politician identified with and supported by the previous regime.

Since its inception, EO 546 has created monstrous bands of mercenaries, murderers, and thugs controlled and directed by the Armed Forces to terrorize civilian populations, and murder journalists, environmentalists, members of the church, and human rights workers who follow their conscience and stand with communities being forcibly driven out from their lands by big corporate interests.

As one of your election promises, you said emphatically: “I will revoke EO546. Never again will public funds be used to support and maintain a private security force.”

Since then, Mr. President, you have shown no intent or political will to abide by your promise, which is why the culture of impunity continues to wreak havoc on human rights, and among the ranks of human rights advocates in the Philippines.

The same law has been used by power-hungry politicians and warlords to maintain no less than 250 private army groups all over the country. The existence of these armed groups may also account for the proliferation of 800,000 firearms that according to military sources, could not be accounted for.

After five years of countless extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations by these armed groups, you continue to ignore the recommendations of international bodies such as the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International to repeal the law. You have instead supplemented the law by authorizing the formation of “Investment Defense Forces,” paramilitary groups that are trained by the AFP but are in the payroll of big mining companies.

Your inaction and militarist approach, Mr. President, has earned for the country the distinction of being the third most dangerous place for journalists, Asia’s most dangerous place for environmentalists, and  a top place in the World Impunity Index—distinctions that shame and enrage us.

These days, the AFP and its militias are again on the rampage in Mindanao.

In Surigao del Sur, the AFP’s Magahat-Bagani paramilitary forces murdered Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the twice-awarded Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, along with community leaders Dionel Campos and Belio Sinzo last September 1. In 2011, members of these paramilitary groups also murdered Fr. Fausto Tentorio, an Italian priest working with indigenous communities.

In Bukidnon, 5 Manobo indigenous lumads, among them a 70-year old blind man and two children were massacred on suspicion of being rebels. A 14-year old student was also raped by three militia men.

In Davao, the Alamara vigilante group caused hundreds of Manobos to flee their village after they were threatened to be executed by the Alamara members.

All over Mindanao are reports of terror-stricken civilians whose communities have been overrun by militias and soldiers, their schools occupied and forcibly closed, their lives and livelihood disrupted and destroyed.

Mr. President, we stand with our indigenous brothers and sisters in Mindanao. We call on your office to respect indigenous rights to land and life. We call on your office to uphold basic human rights as enshrined in the UN International Declaration of Human Rights.

The indigenous people of Mindanao, and the many other Filipinos all over the country who have been suffering abuses or have lost their lives in the hands of your armed forces, are crying out for justice.

Mr. President: disband, disarm and stop funding paramilitary groups, militias and private armies in the Philippines. Repeal Executive Order 546 now!

“I heard from the AFP its assertion that it is seeking to protect the communities and provide services to them in conflict regions; however the displaced IPs made it clear that it is their presence and that of the paramilitary groups in their communities that continues to create anxiety amongst the indigenous communities. The community wishes to return to its lands but stressed to me that they will only feel safe to do so if the long-term militarization of their region comes to an end and they can return with guarantees of safety, dignity and protection. They described to me their concerns including their alleged forced recruitment into paramilitary groups, known as Alamara, under the auspices of the AFP and harassment in the context of the on-going conflict between the AFP and the NPA “

Statement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, on the conclusion of his official visit to the Philippines, 21 to 31 July 2015.

http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16280&LangID=E

UN plan to save Earth is “fig leaf” for Big Business: insiders

Why the new Sustainable Development agenda is “fundamentally compromised” by corporate interests

By Nafeez Ahmed

Excerpt:

The SDG stakeholder engagement process draws selectively on the input of civil society groups to promote its public legitimacy, while systematically ignoring the voices that challenge the wider political and economic structures in which the entire process is embedded.

“The big corporate powers via Global Compact and the rich nations have already agreed on what the fig leaf will look like,” said Ladha. “Whatever the SDGs end up saying will, by the very logic of the system they serve, promote a growth-at-all-costs, neoliberal game plan of trickle-down economics and climate destruction.”

But Ladha’s colleague, Joe Brewer, emphasised that this apparent sleight-of-hand is ultimately about the power of ideology. Neoliberal capitalism prevails as the default position not just because of a conspiracy of the powerful, but because it is already everywhere. Everyone, even the less powerful, find it difficult to imagine a world outside capitalism — and so the assumption is that such a world is simply not an option:

“The logic of neoliberal capitalism is now the water people swim in culturally. It is largely invisible and most don’t realise how their minds default to the dominant commonsense frames of economics discourse.”
Yet the science is increasingly incontrovertible: capitalism’s endless growth paradigm is unsustainable. The post-capitalist era is dawning. And the frog — in this case, the human — is boiling in a dying paradigm of its own construction that has far outlived its usefulness.

Read full article: https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/un-plan-to-save-earth-is-fig-leaf-for-big-business-insiders-2b91c106bb03

Statements of different organizations, networks and advocates on the intensified attacks in Mindanao

We share from ADES and Radio Victoria in El Salvador our message of solidarity with the people from the Philipines.

In solidarity with the people of the Philippines.

The Association of Social and Economic Development, Santa Marta, ADES and Radio Victoria in El Salvador, Central America, before the recent murders of human rights defenders Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the Lumad Center School of Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), tribal leader Dionel Campos and his cousin Aurelius Sinzo in Mindanao, Philippines. Events remind us of the difficult situation experienced in 2009 when our environmental Partners were killed in El Salvador for their fights in defense of life and against the transnational mining company Pacific Rim  today Oceana Gold that seeks to exploit minerals in our department , due to what’s set out above.

We express:

  1. our indignation and total condemnation before the crimes committed by the paramilitary group Magahat, a group attached to the 36 battalion of infantry of the Philippine Army.
  1. our concern and indignation at the complicity of the Philippine Government and transnational corporations in the recent killings of human rights defenders.
  1. our solidarity with the families of the victims, compañeras and compañeros of ALCADEV indigenous peoples and all the organizations that defend human rights in the Philippines.
  1. We condemn the actions of extractive industries that operate in complicity with Governments to violate basic human rights of peoples around the world.
  1. from El Salvador we accompany the struggle of the people of the Philippines in the defense of life and their natural resources.

Therefore we demand:

  1. that the government of Philippines prosecute and punish the perpetrators of these reprehensible crimes.
  1. that the government of Philippines favor the rights of its people before the business interests of extractive  industries.
  1. respect for the life of the defenders of human rights, indigenous peoples, and grass-roots organizations that work to defend the interests of the most vulnerable populations.

Based on the above, we reaffirm our solidarity with the victims and the people of the Philippines who suffer the aggression of extractive industries and reiterate our firm commitment to the defense of life and natural resources.

Cabañas, El Salvador, Central América,  September 09, 2015.

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September 2, 2015

Stop the killings of indigenous peoples and advocates in Mindanao!

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is outraged by the killing rampage of paramilitary groups and State security forces in Mindanao against Lumad activists, environmentalists, human rights defenders, educators and advocates for the indigenous peoples. CPA condemns these killings in the highest terms possible.

The long-time collusion of notorious paramilitary groups and State security forces in Mindanao resulted in the long list of killings, enforced disappearances, evacuations against the Lumads and advocates for peace, human rights and environment. The recent spate of killings in Mindanao mirrors the height of impunity under the BS Aquino regime. In his last year in power, BS Aquino is unleashing its deadly attack against human rights, environmental defenders and peace advocates.

Based on data provided by KARAPATAN, on September 1, 2015, two Lumad leaders and a champion for indigenous people’s education in Mindanao were killed in Surigao del Sur. Emerito Samarca, the executive director of ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development) was gunned down by paramilitary forces Mahagat/Bagani within the ALCADEV campus in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Samarca was found dead in a classroom in Alcadev with a stab wound, and his neck, arms and legs tied up. On the other hand, Dionel Campos, chairperson of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo were killed by the same paramilitary forces while they were coming out of a house in Diatagon, Surigao del Sur.

KARAPATAN further stated that two days prior to the killing, the paramilitary group 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.

On August 31, 2015, 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.  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.

ALCADEV is an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth – the Manobo, Banwaon, Higanon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa of Surigao del Norte and Sur and Agusan Norte and Sur. ALCADEV have been established by Lumads themselves with the help of cause-oriented groups. However, instead of recognizing their valuable contribution, the Lumad community school has been subjected to harassment and malicious accusations of the 36th IB and their rabid paramilitary groups that ALCADEV is a NPA school.

The killing rampage by the Magahat forces also resulted to the massive evacuation of more than 4, 000 Lumad families from their communities in Surigao del Sur.

We should hold BS Aquino accountable to these heinous crimes committed against people. We also call on peace loving people to support the indigenous peoples in Mindanao at these difficult times. We should support them in their calls to demand justice for the victims. We also urged the government to conduct an investigation and prosecute the Mahagat/Bagani forces. Lastly, we call for the immediate pull out of military in indigenous communities, disbanding and dismantling of paramilitary forces in Mindanao. ***

For reference:

Abigail Anongos

Secretary General

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STOP THE ATTACKS ON OUR SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES AND PEOPLE!

SUPPORT THE PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE TO MILITARIZATION AND PLUNDER IN MINDANOW!

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:45 PM, SOS Mindanao <sos.mindanao@gmail.com> wrote:

Statement

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS-MINDANAO NETWORK

September 3

Attacks on Mindanao Lumad schools and communities intensify as Aquino’s military goes berserk for Oplan Bayanihan

The last year of the Benigno S. Aquino presidency has meant a bloodbath for indigenous peoples and for Lumad education, two months after his State of the Nation Address where he gloated of figures that have purportedly addressed classroom shortages and increased the quality of Philippine education.

Emerito ‘Tatay Emok’ Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development, Inc. (ALCADEV) and a convenor of the Save Our Schools Network was killed by government-backed indigenous paramilitary forces. His body was found lying in a pool of blood, with stab wounds on his neck, and his throat slit. While Dionel Campos, chairperson of MAPASU (Persevering Struggle for Future Manobo Generations), and his cousin Aurelio “Bello” Sinzo, were strafed dead before the terrified community of Han-ayan, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur province.

The paramilitary group Magahat— armed, controlled, and commanded by the 36th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army—  burned down the school cooperative building and threatened to massacre the entire community if they would not leave the area two days before the killing of the Samarca, Campos, and Sinzo in the morning of September 1, 2015.

The dastardly crime which was perpetrated at dawn and later carried out in broad daylight, terrified the erstwhile peaceful Manobo school and community. As of this writing, the number of evacuees in Caraga has swelled to 3,000 individuals or more than 500 families coming from the municipalities of San Miguel and Lianga, with some 70 families still lost in nearby forests.

The Philippine military’s attack on ALCADEV using indigenous paramilitaries is by far the gravest and most vicious violation of indigenous peoples’ right to education and constitutes a wholesale violation of children’s rights.

Moreover, as schools are an integral part of communities, the attack is an open declaration of the Philippine state’s war of annihilation against people’s organizations and communities resisting foreign largescale plunder of ancestral domains.

The 36th IB Philippine Army-Magahat rampage at the ALCADEV School shows that the Aquino government has dropped all pretenses of adhering to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments. It also demonstrates the irrefutable crimes of the Philippine Army against indigenous children which the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and the Armed Conflict has continually glossed over, understated, or consistently concealed in its annual reports.

The Philippine government’s attacks on the ALCADEV School clearly shows its contempt towards self-determined development asserted by indigenous communities. Alternative Lumad schools are pushing for their own culturally-relevant pedagogy that liberates indigenous peoples from the yoke of institutionalized discrimination and corporate plunder of ancestral lands.

These Ethnocidal attacks on indigenous education, indigenous leaders and their staunch advocates and supporters are but the latest in a string of Aquino’s orders to tighten the noose on Lumad schools:

  1. Since April of 2014 up to present, 25 Lumad schools and community schools were forced to halt operations for the entire month of June due to harassment by the AFP and sanctioned by the Department of Education (DepEd).
  1. At least 84 cases of attacks on 57 community schools have displaced and disrupted the education of over 3, 000 Lumad children.
  1. Three minors were brutally killed by the elements of 3rdCompany of the1st Special Forces Battalion under the ground commander Capt. Balatbat with Col. Nasser Lidasan as Battalion Commander on August 19, 2015 in Pangatukan town, Bukidnon province. They were part of 5 Manobo tribals strafed and killed on suspicion of being NPA combatants.
  1. The schooling of Lumad children under the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) was disrupted when residents of Brgy. Siagao, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur were displaced. The victims were killed by an armed group led by Hasmin and elements of the 36thIBPA.
  1. A Lumad child was among 14 farmers in White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon who were illegally detained and arrested by elements of 8thIB ug 23rd IB headed by Nicolas Rivera and an official named Tocmo. All were accused as members of the New People’s Army in contrast to the fact that they are members of organizations Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Barangay White Culaman ( NAMABAW) and Tinananon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Arakan (TIKULPA). The Army threatened to burn down the MISFI-run (Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporated) school which offers 7th and 8th grade education in Sitio Dao, Bukidnon.
  1. Adding to these abuses is the ongoing mass evacuation of the Talaingod Manobo people in Davao City since April of this year due to intensified military operations and threats from the terrorist paramilitary group ALAMARA. Around 1, 000 individuals from San Fernando Bukidnon, Kapalong and Talaingod, Davao del Norte have sought sanctuary at UCCP Haran, Davao City. Learners from Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc (STTILCI) in Talaingod have been holding their classes at the refugee camp since the evacuation started. Worse, three soldiers of the 1003rdInfantry Brigade raped a 14-year old Manobo grade 4 student of the Butay elementary school while conducting military operations in the area.
  1. Last month, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao schools in Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon have earlier reported harassments and threats from suspected state forces in the form of anonymous text messages, private message via facebook, and surveillances. In March 18, 2014, an RMP-NMR school grounds in Binikalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur was strafed by 26thIB troops disrupting the graduation practice of the school. In Sarangani province, administrators and faculty of the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) which provides education to indigenous Blaan children have been filed with false criminal charges of serious illegal detention of evacuees and inciting to sedition.

The Aquino government should be held accountable for all these violations. It is responsible for the formation and arming of the paramilitary groups, the paving the way for the enty of  largescale destructive projects in the ancestral domains, the sowing of disunity among IPs, and the killings that have claimed the lives of many.

The Save Our Schools Network demands Justice for Samarca, Campos, Sinzo and all victims of human rights abuses! End all forms of attacks on schools and communities!

Reference:

Prof. Mae Fe Templa, MSW

Convenor, Save Our Schools Network

+639256682458

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Press Statement

September 2, 2015

Rural missionaries group condemns murder of a Lumad school executive, Lumad leader and cousin in Surigao del Sur

Manila, Philippines – The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) strongly condemned the merciless killing of Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) together with Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) chairperson Jionel Campos and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo who were killed by alleged members of para-military group Magahat yesterday September 1, 2015 early morning. The gruesome crime took place inside the Alcadev compound in sitio  Han-ayan, Brgy. Diatagon, Liangga town in Surigao Del Sur.

“We firmly believe that this is part of the comprehensive violation against Lumad communities and their alternative schools in northern and southern Mindanao, Socsargen and Caraga regions by state forces and its para-military groups under the framework of the Aquino administration’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” Sr. Francis Añover, RSM,  RMP National Coordinator said in astatement.

Alcadev is an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth – the Manobo, Banwaon, Higanon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa of Surigao del Norte and Sur and Agusan Norte and Sur.

RMP said that the latest violation of the people’s right to life, more of the people who strive hard to uplift the lives of many Lumad indigenous people who were marginalized and neglected by the state is a worst form of disgrace.  It added that since 2004, when Alcadev was established as the first alternative school for Lumad youth in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, the list of rights abuses against its staff and Lumad has been piling up. Since 2010, military forces have been harassing and attempting to shut down Alcadev.

According to a report of Karapatan Caraga human rights group, two days prior, around 20 elements of 36th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and Special Forces of AFP have been coercing the community to evacuate or else be massacred.

“We encourage different sectors especially the church people to join and support in condemning the continuous attack to Lumad communities and their alternative learning schools. We challenge the Aquino government to immediately act and stop the political killings, harassment and militarization not only in Suriagao del Sur but the whole Mindanao region,” Añover said.

“We also urge the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to condole with the victims by condemning the offense and the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan,” she added.  ###

Reference:

Sr. Francis Añover, RSM

National Coordinator, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)

Tel. no: (632) 961-5094

Philippines: Stop turning Mindanao into a killing field of Lumads

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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Public Statement

13/Sep/2015 – AIPP strongly condemns the continued brutal killings of Lumads in Mindanao of the Philippines at the hands of paramilitary groups and security forces. At least 13 Lumad human rights defenders and community members, including two children, have been killed in five incidents of extrajudicial killings and four massacres in the past eight months, with the recent killings of Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of a tribal school, and two other Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur on 1 September. In the aftermath of the killings, more than 4000 Lumads evacuated to a neighboring village due to fear for their safety, and schools have been closed down.

The targeted killings of Emerito Samarca, regarded as pioneer of alternative education system for disadvantaged indigenous youth, and the two tribal leaders, once again unleashes the spate of state-sponsored terror against its own people, especially the Lumads in Mindanao. Less than two weeks ago, military had allegedly massacred five farmers in Bukidnon – two of them were minors. This has brought the total number of extrajudicial killings to 68 under the incumbent Aquino regime. In almost all of the killings, the victims were falsely framed as members and supporters of New Peoples Army. Ground reports show that all the victims of recent spate of killings were innocent civilians – among them, some were leaders and advocates of the Lumads’ rights.

The increasing figure of extrajudicial killings under the current Aquino government, particularly targeting Lumads and other indigenous peoples in the Philippines, is a clear indication of its failure to protect and respect the inherent rights to life and dignity of its citizens. Killings of innocent civilians at the hands of paramilitary and security forces are gross violations of human rights that demand immediate justice.

AIPP is deeply alarmed by the fact that the reason behind heavy militarization of Lumad communities in Mindanao – half of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines are deployed in the region – is merely to protect the interests of mining companies and other corporate entities to loot and plunder the vast mineral resources from Lumad lands and territories. The use of excessive violence by State security forces to respond to the Lumads’ legitimate defense of their rights to land, territories and resources against plunder and land grabbing is resulting in gross human rights violations. By now, thousands of Lumads are living in evacuation camps across the region because of this militarization.

Fresh incidents of violence, despite strong recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons after his recent country visit to the Philippines, including to the region of Mindanao, in August clearly demonstrate the lack of political will of the Government to adhere to its international human rights obligations. They also exemplify the worsening discrimination against and unjust treatment of indigenous peoples, including the right to education of indigenous children. Asserting that some leaders and members of the indigenous communities have been killed over the past years reportedly due to their anti-mining activities, the Special Rapporteur urged the Government, in consultation with indigenous peoples, to give greater attention to addressing the causes of displacement whether it is due to the militarization of their areas or development projects.

Victims of any of the killings and massacres have not been provided justice. AIPP denounces, in the strongest terms, the prevailing culture of impunity for such heinous crimes. The immunity provided to paramilitary and security forces as an integral part of Aquino’s counter-insurgency program ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ must end if it is to provide any justice to the victims.

AIPP calls on the concerned Filipino authorities to promptly conduct an independent and transparent investigation of all the extrajudicial killings under the current regime. It appeals for an immediate end to the militarization in indigenous communities, including termination of the counter-insurgency program ‘Oplan Bayanihan’, withdrawal of military and paramilitary troops from the communities and dismantling of private armies. It also urges the Government to revoke the Executive Order 546, which legitimizes  formation of such paramilitary groups.

Further, AIPP appeals to the Filipino government to immediately stop all destructive projects in ancestral territories, including mining, hydroelectricity and logging and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples, including their rights to lands, territories and resources and self-determination, in line with its international human rights obligations. AIPP also calls on the government to implement the recommendations of the former Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, contained in his report to the Human Rights Council A/HRC/11/2/Add.8 29 April 2009 and the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, with regards to the situation of internally displaced indigenous peoples.

Please see the attached Urgent Appeal for additional information and send letters of concern to the concerned authorities.

For media inquiries  

Joan Carling, Secretary-General, AIPP, +66-(0)85-694-0100 joan@aippnet.org  

Prabindra Shakya, Human Rights Campaign and Policy Advocacy Programmme Coordinator, AIPP, +66-(0)90-319-7751prabin@aippnet.org 

Cathedral of the Resurrection Church Compound, Lower Magsaysay Avenue, 2600 Baguio City

Cordillera Administrative Region,  Northern Luzon, Philippines

Telefax: (074) 424-3764    Email: cdpckordi@cdpckordilyera.orgcdpc.envi@gmail.com; Web: cdpckordilyera.org

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CDPC DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF SEPTEMBER 1

LIANGGA SURIGAO DEL SUR MASSACRE

 

 

JUSTICE FOR EMERITO, DIONEL AND AURELIO!

The CDPC (Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera) network strongly condemns the inhumane murder of Emerito “Emuk” Samarca, Executive Director of Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), Dionel Campos, Chairperson of MAPASU (Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation), and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo. The massacre of the three colleagues in  alternative development work in a remote and deprived community of Liangga, Surigao Del Sur on September 1, 2015 is a very recent act of  genocide because it systematically eliminate Indigenous People. This is part of fascism by the Aquino government; Oplan Bayanihan.

As NGO partner in advocating pro-people  alternative development, ALCADEV since its establishment in 2004 has been providing educational assistance to as well as enhancing sustainable agricultural practices among lumad communities in the CARAGA region through its partnership with People’s Organizations represented by MAPASU.  Emerito or Emuk to many and Dionel together with community members and other leaders like Aurelio have gone through many difficulties and trials in their struggles to reach the better living situation that they  had achieved  before the massacre happened.

Alcadev,  successful running alternative school is one of the fruits of the struggles, unity and perseverance of the Lumads in Liangga Surigao Del Sur. ALCADEV and MAPASU was given recognition by the national government through the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS) for its noble achievement in literacy program for the lumad people.Even with such recognition, they continuously faced threats for  their lives and vilification from the government through the Armed Forces of the Philippines and para-military groups (MAGAHAT/BAGANI FORCES) ) assigned in the area until  this  extra-judicial killings of these 3 leaders and champions of the Lumads.

More development programs and activist development workers in the country are experiencing the same fate. State security forces try to stop and hinder pro- people development programs and efforts by the communities by filing trumped-up charges  against community development activist workers and human rights defenders and advocates.

We are deeply saddened and angered for losing collegues in the advancement of peoples’ rights to genuine development, by this systemic vicious act of the state  against development activist workers and human rights defenders and advocates.

As we mourn and turn over  our anger to positive action, we join hands with partner NGOs and POs and other civil society organizations at the local level and in the international community to demand for immediate justice for Emerito, Dionel, Aurelio, and  to all victims of this horrible and inhumane act. These injustices and impunity will bring more people to rise and fight for peoples’ rights and genuine development of the people.

Respect peoples’ rights to development!

Immediate Justice for the victims of Lianga massacre!

Stop vilification and extra-judicial killings of development and human rights activists!

End impunity and the fascist nature of the Philippine government!

For reference:

Jane L. Yap-eo

Executive Director

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The PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) is deeply appalled by the brazenness and brutality of the recent killings of the top official of a lumad school and a local leader and his relative by alleged military and paramilitary forces in the Philippines.

As we have noted in our previous appeal (read here) on the state of human rights of the lumads (indigenous people in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao), such systematic repression is clearly tied to the communities’ opposition to corporate mining and plantations that will grab away their ancestral lands and resources.

We are sharing below the statement issued by the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCODEV) where one of the victims was the executive director.

We urge our partners and allies to join our lumad brothers and sisters and their supporters in condemning the atrocious and intensifying attacks allegedly being perpetrated by the Philippine government’s armed forces. Please circulate the statementbelow to your own networks, friends and allies.

Defend human rights! No Land, No Life!

PANAP Secretariat

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Statement of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCODEV) and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS)

 

September 1, 2015

 

WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR THE KILLING OF TATAY EMOK, ONEL, BELLO BY THE 36TH IBPA AND THE MAGAHAT PARAMILITARY FORCES!

https://www.facebook.com/PNFSP/posts/871854529517247

We strongly condemn and demand justice for the killing of EMERITO “Tatay Emok” SAMARCA, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV); DIONEL “Onel” CAMPOS, Chairperson of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and his cousin BELLO SINZO.

The three were killed by members of the bandit group Magahat/Bagani paramilitary forces early morning today, September 1, at the school grounds of the ALCADEV and Han-ayan Tribal Community School in Han-ayan and Km. 16, Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur respectively. We also condemn the indiscriminate firing and burning of the community cooperative of MAPASU of the 36TH IBPA and the Magahat bandit group and the resulting forced evacuation of communities within and surrounding these tribal schools.

The bandit Magahat/Bagani paramilitary forces are with the 36th IB PA and Special Forces in their military operation and encampment of the community since August 30. The military and paramilitary forces threatened the school’s faculty, staff and community members of massacre and were given two days to leave the community. EMERITO SAMARCA was held and detained by some armed Magahat. He was last seen tied around the neck, his hands and feet also tied and brought inside one of the classrooms. He was tortured and stabbed to death and left inside one of the ALCADEV classrooms. DIONEL CAMPOS and his cousin, AURELIO SINZO, were about to go to the center of the community as demanded by the paramilitary forces when MAGAHAT MEMBERS, BROTHERS LOLOY and BOBBY TEJERO, opened fire on the two men.

These latest killings and attack against the teachers, staff, tribal schools and community leaders and members are meant to destroy the unity of the lumad people who have been strong in resisting the plunder of their ancestral lands within and surrounding the Andap Valley Complex by large scale mining and plantations pushed by the Benigno Aquino government. The AFP, Aquino’s “investment security forces” have employed the foulest means to deny the lumad people education and development because it means resistance against anti-people projects and steadfast defense of ancestral lands.

The AFP has to answer for having organized and backed up the Magahat/Bagani paramilitary forces in their rampage because the Magahat/Bagani paramilitary forces was organized and is under the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The lumad communities of Lianga, San Miguel and San Agustin have been demanding the dismantling of these paramilitary forces since last year.

Complaints have been filed against them along with public condemnations of such acts. Instead of disbanding these paramilitary forces, the operating troops of the AFP, particularly the 36th IB PA and the Special Forces have stepped up their recruitment and employed them in their military operations, committing human rights abuses. They have been attacking tribal schools run by the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and ALCADEV and our institutions.

JUSTICE FOR TATAY EMOK, ONEL, BELLO!

STOP THE KILLINGS!

IMMEDIATELY DISBAND AND PERSECUTE THE KILLERS!

STOP THE COLLUSION OF THE PARAMILITARY FORCES AND THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES!

Reference:

Annabelle Campos 09073301184

Aivy Hora 0948901 7029

Bp. Modesto Villasanta, UCCP 09286920141

Urgent Alert on Killings in ALCADEV, CARAGA-Mindanao

From Katribu Nasyunal:

Aquino’s Last Year: A Bloodbath for the Indigenous Peoples

13 Lumads extra-judically killed; 4 massacres in 8 months

Urgent Alert of KATRIBU on the recent attacks of the Aquino Government against the Lumad Communities

On September 1, 2015, at the break of dawn, the Magahat/Bagani Forces killed 2 lumads and a staunch supporter of the indigenous peoples right to education in Diatagon, Lianga. Surigao del Sur. Killed were Dionel “Onel” Campos, Chairperson of the MAPASU (Continuing Struggle for the Next Generation), a lumad organization in Surigao del Sur covering almost 30 Manobo communities, his cousin Aurello “Bello” Sinzo, and Emerito “Emok” Samarca, the executive director of the ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development), the pioneer indigenous high school in the Caraga Region. As of this writing, around 2000 Manobo from Diatagon have fled and sought sanctuary in other communities and in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

In August of this year, the 36th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) together with the Magahat/Bagani Force have conducted renewed military operations and encamped in communities in Surigao del Sur.  The Magahat/Bagani Force is one of the paramilitary groups formed, armed, and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Mindanao.

Onel and Bello are now the 67th and 68th victim of extra-judicial killings under the BS Aquino regime.  They are also among the 13 lumads or indigenous peoples in Mindanao killed since March of this year.

On August 18, the 1st Special Forces Battalion massacred Emer and Welmer Somina, and Norman, Herminio and Jobert Samia in Pangantucan, Bukidnon. The military was quick in covering up by announcing to the media that they had an armed encounter with members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The victims were members of the Manobo Farmers Association. Emer Somina and Norman Samia are aged 17 and 14.

On August 9, the Magahat/Bagani forces and 36th IBPA encamped in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.  They interrogated, harassed and threatened members of the community, school teachers and staff, pointed guns at civilians and accused them of being members of the NPA. This led to the evacuation of around 108 families with an approximate 543 individuals from the village of Bolhoon, San Miguel. Due to the continued military operations, on August 30, the number of evacuees has peaked to 2,262 individuals with 420 families coming from several villages of San Miguel.

For the past months, the Aquino regime through the AFP, the Bagani forces and other paramilitary groups have committed the gravest crimes against the lumad communities in Mindanao.  From March to September 1 2015, thirteen (13) lumad leaders, activists, community members that include two children were killed in 5 incidents of extra-judicial killings and 4 massacres.  There were at least 6 incidents of forced evacuations from the provinces of Saranggani, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur that involved more than 4,000 individuals, mostly indigenous peoples. They fled their homes and communities, some since May up to the present, due to heavy military presence and intense combat operations in their respective communities.

Twenty-five (25) lumad schools and community schools catering to indigenous communities were pushed to halt operations for the entire month of June due to harassment by the AFP and sanctioned by the Department of Education (DepEd). From June 2010, there were at least 84 cases of attacks on 57 community schools that affected thousands of lumad children. These attacks are in the form of the threats, encampment, destruction and divestment of properties, vilification, forced evacuation, harassments and intimidation of students, teachers, and more recently, the brutal murder of Emerito “Emok” Samarca, the executive director of the ALCADEV. In August, some of the elementary schools and the high school in San Miguel and Diatagon have suspended their classes.

Since 2012, there has been a marked increase in the deployment of military troops in Mindanao. Currently, 55 combat battalions or more than 50% of the AFP forces are deployed in Mindanao. And since then, human rights violation against the lumad communities have risen to alarming proportions.

The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), a military command operating in Mindanao which is a part of the state’s killing and terror machinery, announced in January 2015 that they have until 2016 to clear out the Davao and Caraga Regions from the New People’s Army (NPA) and declare the victory of the Oplan Bayanihan. Recently, the EastMinCom was acclaimed by BS Aquino for its “excellence.” They boasted of their trophies – the numbers of killed, captured, arrested, and surrendered “NPAs”.

However, the numerous cases of human rights violations, the cooptation of indigenous peoples’ socio-political systems and active division of our communities and the filing of trumped-up charges against indigenous leaders and members are the actual results of the Oplan Bayanihan.

Aquino’s counter insurgency program, the Oplan Bayanihan, is aimed to crush a persistent armed revolutionary movement in the country. But in actuality, Oplan Bayanihan also targets the legal opposition and resistance of people’s organizations and communities to secure the business interests of the foreign corporations and their local big business partners. The Oplan Bayanihan was implemented by BS Aquino in January 2011 right after it extended the dreaded and brutal Oplan Bantay Laya of the Arroyo regime.  Heavy military deployment and intensive military operations are conducted in indigenous communities and territories. Indigenous peoples’ legitimate defense of their rights, land and resources against plunder and land grabbing are responded to by violence. Resisting communities suffer grave human rights violations.

We expect and dread the exacerbation of human rights violations with impunity against indigenous communities in the last remaining 9 months of the BS Aquino Regime with the continuation of the Oplan Bayanihan.

We urgently appeal for support to STOP THE KILLINGS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN THE PHILIPPINES!

  1. End the widespread militarization of indigenous communities and blatant violation of IP’s collective and human rights
  2. Immediately conduct an independent and transparent investigation of the 68 extra-judicial killings under the Aquino regime
  3. Justice for the 168 extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo regime and all victims of human rights violations. Arrest, prosecute and punish all perpetrators of human rights violations
  4. End the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians
  5. Pull out military and paramilitary troops from indigenous communities. Dismantle the Sanmatrida, Salawakan, Triom, Task Force Gantangan, Bulif, Alamara, Magahat, Bagani Force, and other paramilitary groups and private armies
  6. Revoke the Executive Order 546 which legitimizes the formation of paramilitary groups
  7. Stop all destructive projects in ancestral territories. Review all permit of large-scale mining, energy and hydro-electric plants, agri-business plantations, and commercial logging
  8. Uphold the indigenous peoples’ rights to land and self-determination!

You may send in letters of concerns to the following:


H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III

President of the Republic

Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila Philippines

Voice: (+632)564-1451 to 80

Fax: (+632)742-1641 / 929-3968

E-mail: op@president.gov.ph

 

Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo

Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples

2nd Floor N. dela Merced Bldg.

Corner West & Quezon Avenue, Quezon City

Telefax: (632) 373-9534/ 373-9787

E-mail: chairpersonoffice@gmail.com, oed.ncip@gmail.com, ncipexecdirector@gmail.com

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

7th Floor Agustin Building I, Emerald Avenue

Pasig City 1605

Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066

Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216

stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph

Hon. Severo Catura

Presidential Human Rights Committee

Malacañang Palace, Manila Philippines

Fax: (+632) 734-6761

E-mail: phrc.phil@gmail.com

 

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin

Secretary, Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, EDSA, Quezon City

Voice: (+632) 911-6193/ 911-0488 / 982-5600

Fax:+63(2) 982-5600

Email:osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com

Atty. Leila De Lima

Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-1908

Fax: (+632) 523-9548

Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.phlmdelima.doj@gmail.com, lmdelima.doj2@gmail.com

Hon.  Jose Luis Martin Gascon

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

E-mail: mmarianomaravilla@yahoo.com, aelzy.ofreneo@gmail.com

Cong. Guillermo A. Rumarate, Jr.

Chairperson, Human Rights Committee, Philippine Congress

3/F Ramon V. Mitra Buillding, House of Representatives, Quezon City

Voice (632) 9315001 local 7157

Telefax: (632) 9324803

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

Chairperson, Justice and Human Rights Committee, Philippine Senate

Rm. 512 GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Voice: (632) 822-9758
Fax: (632) 822-9759
Email: kokopimenteloffice@yahoo.com

And please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to:

 

KATRIBU Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas

and Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples! Network

3/F National Council of Churches in the Philippines Buildning, #879 EDSA, Barangay West Triangle, Quezon City 1104 PHILIPPINES

Voice/Fax: (+632) 412 5340

Email: kamp_phils@yahoo.com

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From KARAPATAN

Urgent Alert (Updated Sept. 7, 2015) ALCADEV Executive Director, two Lumads killed by AFP units and paramilitary group; community members forced to evacuate

On September 1, at around 4 a.m., members of the AFP’s paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani

Force/Marcos Bocales group opened fire at Dionel Campos and his cousin Juvello Sinzo (earlier reported as Aurello/Bello Sinzo) and a staff member of ALCADEV Belen Itallo in the presence of the community members in Km.16, Bgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Campos and Sinzo died instantly, while Itallo survived. The back of Campos’s head was blown off, as some witnesses believed armed men used M203 rifle to shoot him. Sinzo’s arms were also broken due to gunshot wounds.

In the same morning, Emerito Samarca’s remains was found in one of the classrooms in school compound of ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development). Samarca is Executive Director of ALCADEV. His throat was slit open, with the cut that ranged from ear to ear. He was also shot two times on the chest.

The killings happened while the same paramilitary group burnt down the community’s cooperative store.

UA Date : September 3, 2015
UA Case : Extrajudicial killing, frustrated killing, threat and harassment,
forcible evacuation, use of schools for military purpose, torture,
divestment of property, destruction of property, indiscriminate
firing
Victim/s :

EMERITO SAMARCA, 54, married with four children, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV); he was staff member of ALCADEV since its founding and became executive director in 2012. From 1990-1998, he worked with SILDAP-SIDLAKAN, a Lumad support institution in Caraga. He was also staff of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN) – KMP in the 1980’s.

DIONEL CAMPOS, 41, married, resident of Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, Chairperson, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU or Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation); He is the cousin of JALANDONI CAMPOS, a Lumad leader who has been falsely charged with criminal offense.

DATU JUVELLO SINZO (earlier reported as Aurello/Bello Sinzo), 69, member of MAPASU and resident of Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Datu Juvello is tribal chieftain of the village of Kiwagan, Bgy. San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

About 261 families/1,304 community members and residents of Han-ayan, Km. 16 and 9 other lumad communities in Brgy. Diatagon and Brgy. San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur; and 304 families /1,354 individuals from three communities in Buhisan, San Agustin; seven communities in two barangays in San Miguel, one community each in Caras-an, Tago and Mahaba, Marihatag, all in Surigao del Sur.

27 Faculty and staff members of ALCADEV and TRIFPSS (Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur)

Place of incident : ALCADEV compound in Han-ayan and Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon,
Lianga, Surigao del Sur
Date of incident : September 1, 2015 at around 4 a.m.
Perpetrator/s : Elements of the 36th IB-PA under Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Akas
(who turned over command to Lt. Col. Randolph Roxas September 1);
Elements of the 75th Infantry Battalion and Special Forces of the Philippine
Army; Elements of the paramilitary Magahat/Bagani Forces/Marcos
Bocales group identified by eyewitnesses as Bobby Tejero and Loloy Tejero,
among 18 others

ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT:

On August 30, 2015, about 40 soldiers of the 36th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA), the 75th IBPA, AFP 1st Special Forces, and known members of the paramilitary group—who call themselves Magahat-Bagani Force/Marcos Bocales group—occupied the function hall and parts of the school grounds of the Aternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) in Sitio Han-ayan, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

It was the day after the commemoration of the school’s Foundation Day. While there were visitors who stayed behind after the event, most of the visitors had already left. Those who stayed behind saw for themselves the soldiers and members of the paramilitary group in the community.

During the military and paramilitary encampment, elements of the 36th IBPA, 75th IBPA, SF, and members of the Bocales group threatened the school’s faculty members, staff, and the community members that they will be massacred, unless they leave in two days. Soldiers also asked community members of the whereabouts of Reynaldo Campos, ALCADEV coordinator; Norma Ampis, TRIFPSS executive director; Dionel Campos, MAPASU Chairperson; and, two other TRIFPSS teachers.

At dawn of September 1, at around 4 a.m., soldiers went from house to house in Han-ayan and in Km. 16 and ordered residents to get out of their houses and to proceed to the basketball in Km. 16. Han-ayan is less than a kilometer from Km. 16’s basketball court.

At the ALCADEV grounds, the soldiers and paramilitary forcefully knocked at the dormitory. The soldiers told the students and staff to come out of the school. One resident, Guideon Galicia, who was about to go up to the second floor of the ALCADEV guest house to get Samarca met a soldier who immediately hit him with the butt of a gun. Samarca saw Galicia and asked the soldiers not to hurt him. He then introduced himself as Executive Director of ALCADEV. The soldiers let go of Galicia and held Samarca instead.

As residents and teachers were leaving Han-ayan, 25 soldiers of the 75th IBPA in full battle gear and three to five members of the paramilitary group, remained in the community.

In Km. 16, the people were ordered to gather at the basketball court. The armed men separated the men from the women and children. The ALCADEV teachers and staff were also told to form their separate group. Bobby and Loloy Tejero of the Magahat/Bagani Force approached Sinzo, who was at the group of men. He was asked to promise that the residents would “go back to the folds of the government” but Sinzo said it is beyond him. The armed men grabbed him and separated him from the group. People saw the armed men beat Sinzo with wood.

Campos and Itallo, who were at the house of Josephine Pagalan, were ordered to sit at a bench near

Pagalan’s house. Pagalan is spokesperson of the Kahugpungan sa mga Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga

(Kasalo Caraga or Organization of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Caraga).

The armed men also confiscated all cellphones and cameras from the residents and ALCADEV staff and remaining visitors in the community.

Some members of the paramilitary group said Itallo was seen in the company of the NPA in the mountains. Itallo, crippled by polio since childhood, reasoned out by showing her feet and saying it is not true because she has difficulty in walking. The armed men ordered Itallo to sit beside Campos while they grabbed Sinzo and separated him from the group.

Campos fell down when armed men whacked him in the neck, but he refused to bow down. He immediately lifted his head and looked at the people around him. Bobby Tejero and brother Loloy Tejero ordered the residents to ‘drop’ and the n shot Campos on the head. Some 20 armed men fired indiscriminately in the presence of the people. After the indiscriminate firing, they saw Sinzo also dead, a few meters away from Campos. His arms were broken.

The community members saw the killing. Itallo, who ducked and just kept her eyes closed during the shooting, survived but was temporarily deaf because of the close range firing. The back of Campos’s head was blown off.

Later in the morning, after the killing, the residents went back to their respective houses. The residents of Han-ayan also went back to their community and saw their cooperative store burned down and parts of the TRIFPSS school burning. While others tried to put off the fire at the TRIFPSS school, some teachers went back to ALCADEV campus and found Samarca’s dead body. His throat was slit open, with the cut that ranged almost from ear to ear, his face bruised and almost unrecognizable.

At the time of the incident, most of the elements of the 36th IBPA and Special Forces were in Km. 9.

Since 2005, members of Mapasu and ALCADEV, who are active in the defense of Lumad ancestral lands against incursion by big business, have been victims of red tagging, trumped-up criminal charges, illegal arrests and detention, torture, and forced evacuation.

ALCADEV was established in July 19, 2004 as an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth—Manobo, Higaonon, Banwaon, Talaandig and Mamanwa – who live in the mountains of Surigao del Norte and Sur, Agusan del Norte and Sur. ALCADEV is born out of the joint efforts of indigenous peoples organizations in CARAGA region. MAPASU is a regional organization of indigenous people in Caraga and is well known for its strong stance against intrusion of mining companies in their communities.

The paramilitary group of Marcos Bocales, called Task Force Gantangan during the Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya, may have changed its name into Magahat- Bagani Force. Despite the change in name however, the group continues to be armed and used by the military to sow division and terror among the Manobo-Lumad, using a worn-out trick of divide-and-rule. In 2014 alone, the group, under the auspices of the 36th IB-PA, was responsible for the killing of Henry Alameda and Aldren Dumaguit; the burning of the vehicle of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Surigao del Sur (KAMASS) – KMP; and, the burning of the cooperative store and school in Kabulohan, Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur.

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on the BS Aquino government to:

  1. Immediately pull-out the 36th, 75th IB-PA and Special Forces from the Lumad community and dismantle the paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani Force.
  1. Create an independent body to investigate on the killings and other human rights violations perpetrated by the 36th and 75th IB-PA and its paramilitary forces, the Magahat/Bagani Force.
  1. Persecute the perpetrators of the extrajudicial killing and other human rights violations committed against the residents of Han-ayan and Km. 16 in Bgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
  1. To withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which continues to victimize innocent and unarmed civilians.
  1. Remind the Philippine government that it is bound to observe, promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it is a signatory to and a party to all the major Human Rights instruments.

We also call on all human rights advocates to extend humanitarian support to the 2,000 evacuees who are now in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

We also call on all human rights advocates to extend humanitarian support to the 2,000 evacuees who are now in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on the BS Aquino government to:

  1. Immediately pull-out the 36th, 75th IB-PA and Special Forces from the Lumad community and dismantle the paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani Force.
  1. Create an independent body to investigate on the killings and other human rights violations perpetrated by the 36th and 75th IB-PA and its paramilitary forces, the Magahat/Bagani Force.
  1. Persecute the perpetrators of the extrajudicial killing and other human rights violations committed against the residents of Han-ayan and Km. 16 in Bgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
  1. To withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which continues to victimize innocent and unarmed civilians.
  1. Remind the Philippine government that it is bound to observe, promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it is a signatory to and a party to all the major Human Rights instruments.

We also call on all human rights advocates to extend humanitarian support to the 2,000 evacuees who are now in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

You may send your communications to:

  1. H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III President of the Republic of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel Manila Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80 Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968 E-mail: op@president.gov.ph

  1. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin Secretary, Department of National Defense Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488

Fax:+63(2) 911 6213

Email: osnd@philonline.com

  1. Leila De Lima

Secretary, Department of Justice Philippines

Padre Faura St., Manila, Philippines Direct Line 521-1908

Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.211/214 Fax: (+632) 523-9548

Email:  lmdelima@doj.gov.ph, lmdelima.doj@gmail.com, lmdelima.doj2@gmail.com

  1. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, (+632) 926-6188 Fax: (+632) 929 0102

E-mail: comsec@chr.gov.ph

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

National Office

2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES

Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146

Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org; karapatan@karapatan.org Website: www.karapatan.org

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From:

Karapatan Caraga

09154647583

 

MAGAHAT/BAGANI FORCES WITH 36TH IBPA KILL THREE LEADERS 

IN LIANGA, SURIGAO DEL SUR

 

September 1, 2015 at around 4 am in Km. 16, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur – Known elements of the Magahat-Bagani Forces opened fire at Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo as community members were roused from bed and forced to gather in the middle of the community early this morning.  At around the same time, the dead body of Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the  Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development(ALCADEV), was found in one of the schoolrooms, tied around the neck and extremities, with a stab wound.

On August 30, after the two-day celebration of ALCADEV’s Foundation Day, about 30 elements of the 36th IBPA and Special Forces with members of the Magahat-Bagani Force occupied the school’s function hall and areas within the school grounds.  The Magahat threatened to massacre the community should they not evacuate within two days.

On August 31, the cooperative of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) was burned by the Magahat who also indiscriminately fired around the vicinity.  Because of this, residents of Han-ayan and the school staff with some guests decided to go to nearby Km. 16.

As they were preparing to leave that afternoon, Samarca was detained at the ALCADEV grounds by some members of the Magahat. This was the last time that he was seen alive.

All cellphones and cameras of the residents, faculty and staff were seized by the Magahat before pulling out from Km. 16 after the killing.  Soldiers of the 36th IBPA and SF, who openly stayed in Km.9, are conducting their usual patrols but no other actions are being taken as of this time.

“This is a clear indication of collusion between the AFP and the armed Magahat-Bagani Forces.”, says Eliza Pangilinan, Karapatan Caraga secretary general.  “Despite the obvious presence of the military who are purportedly there for internal security, these killings continue to happen with impunity.”

The same armed paramilitary group of Magahat-Bagani Forces led by Marcos Bocales, who were implicated in the killing of Henry Alameda and Aldren Dumaguit on October 24, 2014, are also identified as the perpetrators of this killing.

“We call on the law enforcement agencies and the local prosecutors to seriously investigate the increasing spate of killings that are perpetrated by these groups.  Instead of filing charges against activists, left and right, they should look at the apparent connection between the military and these armed paramilitary groups, file charges and arrest them and bring a stop to impunity.  This is the only way that communities can truly feel secure. ”, Panganiban closes.#

IPMSDL condemns the attacks on Lumads!!!

The Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) condemns the escalating attacks on Lumads – the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, Philippines, their schools and communities. We join the growing clamor to demand the pullout of military and State-backed paramilitary forces in indigenous communities and territories; disband and disarm State-backed paramilitary forces; and for an immediate, fair, and impartial investigation on the cases of extra-judicial killings of Lumad leaders and activists.

On August 30, combined forces of the 36th and 75th IBPA, Special Forces and their paramilitary Magahat/Baganiintruded in the territory of the Manobo (a Lumad tribe) and occupied the grounds of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) in Lianga, Surigaodel Sur. They threatened to massacre thecommunity if they do not leave in two days.

The following day, August 31, elements of the paramilitary Magahat/Bagani opened fire and burned down the community cooperative store of the MAPASU (MalahutayongPakigbisogAlangsaSumusunod) forcingmajority of the community to evacuate in the same day to the nearby villagein  Km. 16. As they were leaving, they saw EmeritoSamarca, ALCADEV Executive Directors with his hands, feet and neck tied – forcibly accosted by the military to one of the ALCADEV classrooms.

At around 4:00 in the morning of September 1, the soldiers went from house to house and forced the remaining residents to assemble at the center of the community. Here, in the presence of the community, the soldiers blew the head ofDionel Campos killing him instantly, and shot dead Bello Sinzo, a leader and member of MAPASU, respectively.

A few hours later, members of the community found the body of EmeritoSamarcastill with his hands, feet and neck tied in one of the ALCADEV classrooms, his throat slit open almost from ear to ear, his faced bruised almost unrecognizable.

The above incidents are not isolated in Surigao. It happens almost every day in Mindanao.

Earlier, on August 18, elements of the 3rd Company, 1st Special Forces Battalion mercilessly killed 5 Manobo peasants in Pangantucan, Bukidnonon the accusation that they are members of the New People’s Army (NPA); two were minors, one youth and two elderly with one being blind. The lone survivor and witness is also a minor.

This is the reality of Oplan Bayanihan – the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency policy. This is the reality of the Lumadsand other Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines as we assert our rights to land, resources, development and self-determination. The militarization of Mindanao especially Lumad communities has resulted to massive violations of people’s human rights. Communities and activists have reported cases of extrajudicial killings, threats, harassment, intimidation, trump-up criminal charges, torture, arrests and detention, encampment of communities and schools, destruction and divestment of properties, vilification of organizations, schools and individuals, all these forcing Lumad communities to evacuate their homes for safety and security.

From March – September 2015, KATRIBU (a national alliance of Indigenous Peoples organizations in the Philippines) has recorded 13 extrajudicial killings of Lumad activists, six incidents of forced evacuations involving more than 500 families, and 25 closing or suspension of classes of Lumad or community schools.

The attacks on the Lumads, their schools and communities have worsened their situation of poverty, neglect and discrimination.In this case, theLumadsorganized themselves in a community organization and cooperativeMAPASU to alleviate themselves from poverty and neglect, and build their unity and collective capacity.The MAPASU and advocates built the ALCADEV to respond to the education needs especially of the youth and children. It demonstratesnot only community unity, but also viable economic alternatives from indigenous economic and sustainable practices, and enhancing indigenous language and culture.Instead of supporting and developing these initiatives, the Philippine government has declared war against the Lumadsand tagged their initiatives and empowerment as acts of terrorism.

Indigenous Peoples in other parts of the country and the globe also experience the same militarization and violation of their human rights in their assertion of their rights to land, development and self-determination. In India, the Indigenous Peoples suffer the same vilification under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Almost daily, we receive reports of the killing and sexual assault against women and children in Bangladesh. In the Arctic to the Pacific, from Africa to Latin America, Indigenous Peoples face similar threats of prosecution, arrest and detention, killings as they confront destructive projects of mines, energy and plantations in their territories.

This worsening exploitation and repressionchallenges us Indigenous Peoples to persevere in our struggles and to build further our organizations in the grassroots, strengthen solidarity among us and with other sectors and groups.

Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples!

Long Live International Solidarity!

Long Live the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation!

[ENG/SPN]:Petition for Indigenous Peoples in Russia/Petición para los pueblos indígenas en Rusia

*Spanish translation follows by google translate/Traducción española sigue por traductor Google

Stop the persecution of Sergey Kechimov and investigate Surgutneftegaz destructive activities on Khanti ancestral lands!

Sergey Kechimov, a deer-herder from Yugra (Siberia) may be jailed for up to 2 years for protecting the Imlor lake, a sacred place for the local Khanti people.Sergey dared to challenge Surgutneftegaz – one of the most powerful oil companies in Russia – which got the permission for oil drilling at the Imlor lake regardless the opinion of native people.

For the Khanti of Surgut, even hunting, fishing, burning fires, picking up mushrooms and herbs around the lake were traditionally forbidden activities. Supported by the conclusions of an official examination carried out by State experts in history and culture, the Khanti requested the authorities to grant the lake territory special protection status. In April 2012, a project of local Government’s stated they would include the “Sacred lake of Imlor” into the official registry of protected cultural heritage sites. But the initial project was ultimately declined due to pressure from the oil industry.

Thus, the welfare of both the native  people and the environment were sacrificed to Surgutneftegaz’s profit. Oil rigs started to appear around the lake. Even as the full-scale industrial drilling had not begun, oil started to leak  from the pipelines and into the lake.

For many years, Sergey Kechimov, belonging to a generation of deer-herders, protected the Imlor lake from poachers. He could not remain quiet as  the oil industry started destroying it. He repeatedly complained to the authorities about the pollution of the lake – thus infuriating the oil company management more and more.

Last Fall, dogs belonging to the oil-company workers, killed one of Sergey’s deers and attacked him as well. Sergey was forced to shoot one of the dogs. The incident took place within an area designated as a ”territory of traditional use of natural resources” to protect the way of life of the ancestral people. Instead of questioning the oil company’s activity in such a location, a few days later the police visited Sergey Kechimov and asked him to sign a document. A forest dweller with little experience in handling documents, Sergey signed what turned to be a confession to “threatening” and “blackmailing” the oil workers.

A criminal case is now open and Sergey may face up to 2 years in prison.  More detailed description of the situation is here (in Russian). See also Al-Jazeera video (in English)

Please join us in calling on the Russian/Siberian authorities:

  • To withdraw all the accusations against Sergey Kechimov for fighting to protect his ancestral land from the oil business.
  • To investigate the legality of Surgutneftegaz’ “rights” to perform any work within the Khanti’s protected ancestral lands.
  • To ensure the Prosecutor’s Office enforces the ancestral rights of the  Khanti people within the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous region.

Click here to go to petition page ( https://www.change.org/p/yuri-chaika-general-prosecutor-of-russian-federation-general-prosecutor-office-of-russia-stop-the-persecution-of-sergey-kechimov-and-investigate-surgutneftegaz-destructive-activities-on-khanti-ancestral-lands?recruiter=51395695&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=mob-xs-no_src-custom_msg&fb_ref=Default )

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Detener la persecución de Sergey Kechimov e investigar Surgutneftegaz actividades destructivas en tierras ancestrales Khanti!
Sergey Kechimov, un ciervo-pastor de Yugra (Siberia) puede ser encarcelado por hasta 2 años para proteger el lago Imlor, un lugar sagrado para la Khanti people.Sergey locales se atrevieron a desafiar Surgutneftegaz – una de las más poderosas compañías petroleras en Rusia – que obtuvo el permiso para la extracción de petróleo en el lago Imlor sin importar la opinión de los pueblos nativos.
Para el Khanti de Surgut, incluso la caza, la pesca, la quema de fuegos, recogiendo setas y hierbas alrededor del lago que tradicionalmente se les prohibió actividades. Con el apoyo de las conclusiones de un examen oficial, llevada a cabo por expertos de los Estados en la historia y la cultura, la Khanti solicitó a las autoridades a conceder el estatus de protección especial territorio lago. En abril de 2012, un proyecto del Gobierno de locales declararon que incluirían el “lago sagrado de Imlor” en el registro oficial de los sitios del patrimonio cultural protegido. Pero el proyecto inicial se ha rechazado en última instancia por la presión de la industria petrolera.
Por lo tanto, el bienestar tanto de los pueblos originarios y el medio ambiente fueron sacrificados a las ganancias de Surgutneftegaz. Plataformas petroleras comenzaron a aparecer alrededor del lago. A pesar de que no había comenzado la perforación industrial a gran escala, el petróleo comenzó a escaparse de las tuberías y en el lago.
Durante muchos años, Sergey Kechimov, que pertenece a una generación de pastores de ciervos, protegida del lago Imlor de los cazadores furtivos. No podía permanecer en silencio como la industria del petróleo comenzó a destruirlo. Se quejó en repetidas ocasiones a las autoridades acerca de la contaminación del lago – enfureciendo así la gestión de la empresa petrolera más y más.
El otoño pasado, los perros que pertenecen a los trabajadores de las petroleras, mataron a uno de ciervos de Sergey y lo atacaron también. Sergey se vio obligado a disparar a uno de los perros. El incidente tuvo lugar en un área designada como un “territorio de uso tradicional de los recursos naturales” para proteger el modo de vida de los pueblos ancestrales. En lugar de cuestionar la actividad de la compañía petrolera en un lugar tal, unos días más tarde la policía visitaron Sergey Kechimov y le pidieron que firmara un documento. Un habitante del bosque con poca experiencia en el manejo de documentos, Sergey firmó lo que resultó ser una confesión de “amenaza” y “chantajear” a los trabajadores petroleros.
Un caso penal ya está abierto y Sergey podría enfrentar hasta 2 años de prisión. Una descripción más detallada de la situación es que aquí (en ruso). Ver también Al-Jazeera de video (en Inglés)
Por favor, únase a nosotros para pedir a las autoridades rusas / siberianos:
Para retirar todas las acusaciones contra Sergey Kechimov por luchar para proteger a su tierra ancestral del negocio del petróleo.
Para investigar la legalidad de los “derechos” Surgutneftegaz “para realizar cualquier trabajo dentro de las tierras ancestrales protegidas del Khanti.
Para asegurar la Fiscalía hace cumplir los derechos ancestrales de los pueblos Khanti dentro de la región autónoma de Khanty-Mansiysk.

 

Call for endorsements: Statement of Concern on Lao PDR and the ACSC/APF 2016

We ask you to kindly circulate the Statement of Concern to your networks and members. Please send your endorsements to<clopa@seaca.net>.

Statement of Concern On Lao PDR and the ACSC/APF 2016

To the Regional Steering Committee

ACSC/APF 2015 Malaysia

We, the undersigned, are national and regional civil society organisations, networks and alliances from South East Asian countries, and key movers of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ ASEAN People’s Forum  (ACSC/APF) processes through the last ten years, from 2005 to 2015. With you, we have been committed to promoting the ACSC/APF process as a civil society-driven, free and open space for building community and solidarity amongst the peoples of Southeast Asia.

While we have had a demonstrable commitment to the ACSC/APF process, we wish to raise our collective concern on the state of democracy and human rights in Lao PDR, and the difficulties we anticipate in having an ACSC/APF in Lao PDR in 2016.

During the consultations leading to and during the APF 2015, particularly during the 3rd Regional Organizing Meeting in March 2015, a group of unnamed Lao CSOs expressed their objection to the ACSC/APF’s positions on issues, namely on 1) LGBTIQ/ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex, queer; 2) indigenous peoples, and dams; 3) multi-party systems and democracy; and, 4) the disappearance of Sombath Somphone. Dr Maydom, Lao representative to the SC, confirmed during the Regional Organizing meeting, that discussions on these issues would not be possible in Laos.

Based on this, we foresee and have reason to believe that any free discussions and dialogue on very crucial regional issues–on equality and diversity; on development projects and their impacts on peoples and environments; on freedoms and human rights–will not and cannot take place in Lao.

Based on the prior experience of the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF9), we do not see any credible assurances from Lao CSOs based within the country that a prospective ACSC/APF 2016 in Lao will not be plagued by troubles similar to those experienced in AEPF9.

We are certain that an ACSC/APF 2016 will not be organized by Lao civil society. Instead, the government of Laos will certainly have its hand in controlling an ACSC/APF 2016, contrary to the spirit of a civil society organized event. Even if the current CSO representatives from Laos, or the government of Laos, are genuinely sincere in using this opportunity to recover its credibility to hold future events like the ACSC/APF, they have yet to address specific measures to prevent a repeat of any of the inexcusable examples of harassment and impunity by various state actors during and immediately after the AEPF9.

The issue of Sombath Somphone’s enforced disappearance, and the developments around the AEPF9, particularly the inability of the Laos government to make good their promise of allowing the event to be held independently, without interference, is a warning on the current state of Lao society, and the Lao government’s attitude towards civil society and the legitimate issues they work on. The reluctance of Lao civil society to participate, as well as the inability to do so independently in this post-AEPF9 period, clearly highlight the repercussions of the tragedy of the AEPF9. There should be no illusions about the reality of the prevailing fear within Lao society in mentioning issues that are deemed sensitive, such as, Sombath and enforced disappearances, Indigenous peoples, LGBTIQ, multi-party political systems and democracy.

The statement from the IOC of the AEPF and other sources of narration of the foreign civil society actors being dispelled from the country should serve as further reminders of the state’s involvement in the current alarming situation of human rights abuses and danger to civil society within Laos.

Considering all of the above, there seems to be no possibility of a freely organized ACSC/APF in Laos. It would be impossible to uphold the agreed engagement modalities and guiding principles as determined during the ACSC/APF 2015.

We, CSOs in Southeast Asia, hope that the ACSC/APF 2015 Regional Steering Committee will provide the courageous leadership in answering the following questions among the ACSC/APF community, which are central to the current crisis in Laos, and are relevant to the ACSC/APF going forward.

  • Are we prepared to accept an ACSC/APF that is not freely organized by regional civil society? Are we prepared to accept the controlling hand, whether seen or unseen, of the Lao government on the process?
  • Are we fully cognizant of the risks and dangers toward participants, particularly Lao participants, by holding an ACSC/APF in Laos?
  • Are we willing to disenfranchise participants and communities of the LGBTIQ, of indigenous peoples, of environmental groups, of anti-dam campaigners, of democracy activists and human rights defenders, of families of prisoners and the disappeared, by holding an ACSC/APF in Laos?
  • Even if we wish to act upon the idea of benefitting Lao peoples in Laos, and of supporting Lao civil society, are we prepared to compromise the integrity of the ACSC/APF process in Lao, while keeping faithful to the ACSC/APF guiding principles and engagement modalities?

We foresee that the painful answers to the questions we raise will be in the negative; and therefore,

We implore the ACSC/APF 2015 Steering Committee, to seriously consider the option of not endorsing an ACSC/APF 2016 process in Lao.

We implore the ACSC/APF 2015 Steering Committee to bring this discussion back to the country and regional caucuses, to jointly imagine an alternative ACSC/APF process in 2016 outside of Lao PDR, while ensuring that Lao peoples and civil society can still participate freely in such a process.

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Traducción Español por Google Translate

Declaración de Preocupación En República Democrática Popular Lao y la ACSC / APF 2016
Para el Comité Directivo Regional
ACSC / APF 2.015 Malasia
Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, somos organizaciones de la sociedad civil, redes nacionales y regionales y alianzas de países del sudeste asiático, y los motores clave de la / Foro ASEAN Sociedad Civil Conferencia de la ASEAN Personas (ACSC / APF) procesa a través de los últimos diez años, de 2005 a 2015. con ustedes, que se han comprometido a promover el proceso de ACSC / APF como un espacio libre y abierta impulsada por la sociedad civil, para la construcción de la comunidad y la solidaridad entre los pueblos del sudeste asiático.
Si bien hemos tenido un compromiso demostrable con el proceso de ACSC / APF, queremos elevar nuestra preocupación colectiva sobre el estado de la democracia y los derechos humanos en República Democrática Popular Lao, y las dificultades que anticipar en tener un ACSC / APF en Laos en 2016.
Durante las consultas previas y durante la APF 2015, particularmente durante la tercera reunión regional de organización en marzo de 2015, un grupo de sin nombre Lao OSC expresó su objeción a las posiciones de la ACSC / de la APF en temas, a saber, el 1) LGBTIQ / lesbianas, gays, bisexual, transexual, intersexual, raro; 2) Los pueblos indígenas, y las presas; 3) sistemas multipartidistas y la democracia; y, 4) la desaparición de Sombath Somphone. Dr Maydom, representante de Laos a la SC, confirmó durante la reunión regional de Organización, que los debates sobre estas cuestiones no serían posibles en Laos.
En base a esto, prever y tener razones para creer que cualquier discusión libre y el diálogo sobre cuestiones regionales muy importantes – sobre la igualdad y la diversidad; en proyectos de desarrollo y sus impactos en los pueblos y entornos; las libertades y derechos humanos – no y no se llevará a cabo en Laos.
Sobre la base de la experiencia previa del Foro de Europa Gente Asia (AEPF9), no vemos ningún garantías creíbles de Lao OSC basadas en el país de que un estudio prospectivo ACSC / APF 2016 en Lao no será plagado de problemas similares a los experimentados en AEPF9 .
Estamos seguros de que una ACSC / APF 2016 no será organizado por Lao sociedad civil. En cambio, el gobierno de Laos sin duda tendrá su mano en el control de la ACSC / APF de 2016, en contra del espíritu de un evento de la sociedad civil organizada. Incluso si los actuales representantes de OSC de Laos, o el gobierno de Laos, son realmente sinceros en el uso de esta oportunidad de recuperar su credibilidad para celebrar eventos futuros como la ACSC / APF, que todavía tienen que abordar medidas específicas para prevenir una repetición de cualquiera de los ejemplos inexcusables de hostigamiento e impunidad por diversos actores estatales durante e inmediatamente después de la AEPF9.
El tema de la desaparición forzada de Sombath Somphone, y los desarrollos de todo el AEPF9, en particular la incapacidad del gobierno de Laos para hacer buena su promesa de permitir que el evento que se realizará de forma independiente, sin interferencia, es una advertencia sobre el estado actual de la sociedad Lao, y la actitud del gobierno de Laos con la sociedad civil y las cuestiones legítimas que trabajar. La renuencia de Lao sociedad civil a participar, así como la imposibilidad de hacerlo de forma independiente en este período post-AEPF9, claramente destacan las repercusiones de la tragedia de la AEPF9. Hay que hacerse ilusiones acerca de la realidad del miedo que prevalece en la sociedad Lao en mencionar cuestiones que se consideran sensibles, tales como, Sombath y desapariciones forzadas, los pueblos indígenas, LGBTIQ, sistemas políticos multipartidistas y la democracia.
El comunicado del COI del AEPF y otras fuentes de la narración de los actores de la sociedad civil extranjeras se disipó del país debe servir como todos los recordatorios de la participación del Estado en la alarmante situación actual de los abusos contra los derechos humanos y de peligro para la sociedad civil dentro de Laos.
Teniendo en cuenta todo lo anterior, no parece haber ninguna posibilidad de un ACSC / APF libremente organizada en Laos. Sería imposible mantener las modalidades de compromiso acordadas y principios rectores que determine durante la ACSC / APF 2015.
Nosotros, las OSC en el sudeste de Asia, esperamos que el 2015 Comité Directivo Regional ACSC / APF proporcionará el liderazgo valiente en respuesta a las siguientes preguntas entre la comunidad ACSC / APF, que son centrales a la crisis actual en Laos, y son relevantes para la ACSC / APF en el futuro.
· Estamos preparados para aceptar una ACSC / APF que no se organicen libremente por la sociedad civil regional? ¿Estamos preparados para aceptar la mano controladora, ya sea visto o no visto, el gobierno de Laos en el proceso?
· Somos plenamente conscientes de los riesgos y peligros hacia los participantes, en particular los participantes Lao, mediante la celebración de un ACSC / APF en Laos?
· Estamos dispuestos a privar de derechos a los participantes y comunidades de la LGBTIQ, de los pueblos indígenas, de grupos ecologistas, de los activistas anti-represas, de activistas democráticos y defensores de derechos humanos, de las familias de los presos y los desaparecidos, mediante la celebración de un ACSC / APF en Laos?
· Incluso si queremos actuar sobre la idea de beneficiar a los pueblos Lao en Laos y de apoyo a la sociedad Lao civiles, estamos dispuestos a poner en peligro la integridad del proceso de ACSC / APF en Lao, mientras se mantiene fiel a la ACSC / APF principios rectores y las modalidades de compromiso?
Prevemos que las respuestas dolorosas a las preguntas que planteamos será negativa; y por lo tanto,
Imploramos el Comité Directivo ACSC / APF 2015, a considerar seriamente la posibilidad de no aprobar un proceso de ACSC / APF 2016 en Lao.
Imploramos al Comité 2015 Dirección ACSC / APF para llevar esta discusión de nuevo al país y asambleas regionales, imaginar conjuntamente un proceso de ACSC / APF alternativa en 2016 fuera de República Democrática Popular Lao, al tiempo que garantiza que los pueblos de Laos y la sociedad civil todavía pueden participar libremente en tal proceso.