Our friends and family who are the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao, Philippines, have long been experiencing attacks that put them into severe and critical crisis, and in recent months and weeks the situation has worsened and needs even more immediate attention.
Militarization of these Indigenous regions has lead to an increase in massacres of innocent Indigenous persons and advocates, false criminalizations (including but not limited to false accusations of participation in the NPA, New Peoples' Army) in the form of illegal military and paramilitary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and detainment of innocent persons, and civilians experiencing heavy military operations that are causing documented massive human rights violations and displacement. This is all happening for the disguised purpose of land-grabbing for State, businesses and other national and international interests and at the heavy cost of lives and a cultural genocide happening right before our eyes, and with no end to the torture in immediate sight.
These are not acceptable living (or dying) standards for any peoples or persons in this world today, and the situation needs immediate attention, halting and remedy. These are criminal acts. All States in the world contributing to or turning a blind eye/benefiting from the torture and murder of Indigenous Peoples rather than condemning it and taking action against it, near or far, are part and parcel to the industrial complex of genocide of Indigenous Peoples and neglecting their human rights duties and responsibilities both specifically and in general.
Below are a few of the urgent appeals and statements. Please make special note of both the factual documentation provided in all statements as well as the Urgent Appeal of Lingkod Katribu (at the end of this entry) for material support in the form of donations for survival and relief for Lumad refugees. For more statements, see statement and appeal attachments to the formal and shareable version of this statement on letterhead here: Organizations, Networks and Advocates on the Intensified Attacks in Mindanao
For the downloadable IOSDE Press Release click here, or contact us at email@example.com.
Please distribute this information widely and help however you can!
IOSDE Founder & Director,
India Reed Bowers
From IPMSDL, Indigenous Peoples' Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (of which IOSDE is an International Coordinating Committee Member), full document here:
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) forcing majority 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 of Dionel 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 Lumads and 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, the Lumads organized themselves in a community organization and cooperative MAPASU 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 demonstrates not 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 Lumads and 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 repression challenges 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!
From Kitaotao, Bukidnon; a mercy mission for the peasants and lumads affected by militarization:
Thousands of indigenous people from different villages of Bukidnon and North Cotabato are affected of the on-going heavy military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the 8th and 23rd Infantry Battalion. The recent ransacked of 57 houses in Brgy. White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon which led to the illegal arrest and detention of 17 civilians including children and pregnant woman, all peasants and lumads, who belong to the Matigsalug tribe cause trauma to the community. Most of the arrested civilians were leaders and participants of the protest held last June 8-10 to assert the distribution of the relief from the 8 Million calamity fund intended for drought or ‘hulaw’. The protest was led by their local organizations: Kahugpongan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Kitaotao (KMK), Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Barangay White Culaman (NAMABAW) and Tinananon, Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Arakan (TIKULPA).
The elements of the AFP under the aforementioned Infantry Battalions are constantly conducting zoning operations, subjecting the people to a hamlet controlled by the military, forcing people to surrender as if they were NPAs and several human rights violations.
Economic activities of the people from the affected villages are greatly affected by the military hamletting.
The incessant attacks of military personnel on schools located in the area are very alarming and a gross violation of the right of the children for education. Aside from encamping the school premises, the military are persistent on threatening the parents, teachers and students that they will burn the schools. The military burned their stocks of pad papers and notebooks. The military forcibly closed the cooperative being managed by the community, their clinics and resolutely attempted to close day care centers in the area.
Here are some of the documented incidents in the area from June until August 2015:
• June 8-10, 2015 a rally was conducted concerning the announced calamity fund for 2,000 people affected by the droughtcovering 11 barangays under the Municipalities of Kitaotao and Kibawe, Bukidnon.
• After three days of protests, the local government units released the calamity fund and 1,000 sacks of rice to respond to the complaints that there is no food available for the people.
• Days after the protest, the Kitaotao mayor called for a meeting with the officials of barangays, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) and military intelligence group to identify the leaders of the protests.
• It is confirmed that barangay officials requested the military and police to occupy Brgy. White Culaman.
• On August 22 the soldiers arrived in White Culaman. The military claims that they possess arrest warrants and search warrants of around 64 persons. But residents expressed that it’s just a mere list of names and not a legal document. They have stayed for nine days. They comprised of around 50 individuals from the combined troops of the 8th IB and 23rd IB of the AFP. Some of them are in civilian clothes and wore bonnets and no any identification patches, claimed they are elements of the Philippine National Police and the AFP. They stayed at two buildings in the center of White Culaman, the church of the Seventh Day Adventist, the barangay hall, and houses particularly at Sitio Malinaw.
• On August 25, 2015 soldiers arrived at the center of White Culaman and went into houses to serve the “warrants”, they forcibly took ten persons and tied them with rattan and twine and took them to the barangay stage and called for an assembly with the cooperation of the barangay captain and officials.
• On August 26, 2015 four other persons were detained, adding the count to 14,which included a 7year old minor and a breastfeeding child. They were also bound and brought to the stage.
• On August 27, 2015, a helicopter brought the detained persons to a place located somewhere between Maramag and Cagayan de Oro. The spokesperson of the 8th IB confirmed they had 12 people in their custody. They claimed they released four people, three of them were sent home but did not arrived there, and one was forced to be a cook serving the military staying in White Culaman.
• The 14 civilians were bound and detained for one day and one night. Four were released, as three of them were sent away but one was made to cook for them. But the three persons did not return to their families, and the 12 are now in Maramag, based in a battalion headquarters as of this writing.
• Houses were forcibly entered to serve the“search warrants”. The house surroundings were dug for alleged explosives as listed items in the warrants and also on other things not listed in the warrants as well.
• Children and minors were harassed through questioning on where fire arms are buried, and they were threatened or offered 100 pesos to reveal what they are finding.
• Investigations and psy-war against men, women and children in Sitio Malinaw, White Culaman.
• Barangay officials, soldiers and PNP troops organized the people to rise against the NPA particularly those living in Sagasaan and Palkata in White Culaman.
• Suspected members of NPAs were madeto surrender and threats to add more in their list as identified by their intelligence.
• Forced recruitment of CAFGU in sitios.
• On August 25, 2015, students and teachers of the Father Fausto Tentorio Memorial School run by MISFI Academy in Sitio Dao, White Culaman were victimized by indiscriminate firing by military elements around their community. The guns were pointed towards the school.
• This resulted to trauma of students and teachers and the group learned there were threats of burning down or closing the school and health center of MISFI regardless of its legality, this was based from the statement of the barangay captain during the said meeting with the military.
• Hamletting civilians from sitios and the center of White Culaman to make them act as shields for barangay officials and the military for three days.
AFP, STOP DECEIVING THE PEOPLE! ARREST AND PROSECUTE THE KILLERS OF THE LIANGA MARTYRS - UNDERLINGS OF THE 75TH IB AND EXECUTIONERS OF THE BANDIT BOCALES-BELANDRES-EGUA!
The Lumad people under the Kahugpungan Alang sa Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (KASALO Caraga), with the progressive organizations in Caraga are grieving and angry at the killing of Lumad-leaders Dionel Campos, Chairman of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and Datu Juvello Sinzo of Kiwagan, San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) has struggled with and served the Lumad people for a long time that we consider him a Lumad by heart and commitment, if not by tribe.
Theirs are only among the latest successive killings done by armed bandits organized and released like rabid dogs by the 75th IBPA and 36th IBPA. No denial can dissuade the people from knowing the truth that the military control these criminals and assassins –killers of our leaders and members. The 7th IBPA is known in the municipalities and provinces within its AOR as brutal, killing many as they did in Lianga.
The other units of the AFP in Lumad communities in Mindanao, employ the same brutal tactics of armed bandits, or soldiers themselves, sowing terror to silence the Lumad people who have long been struggling for the recognition of their right to self-determination, especially on the issue of ancestral lands and its resources. Annihilate the head and brutally suppress to shock and awe – this is the military tactic used in the hope of declaring a so-called definitive victory in the last days of Noynoy Aquino and the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan.
We remember what happened. It was not only we, but also the visitors that celebrated the ALCADEV’s Foundation Day with us, who saw that those who occupied our school, who were in the middle of our community, were soldiers of the 75thIB, 36th IB and Special Forces, and with them were several known members of the armed bandit group of Bocales-Belandres-Egua. We are all witnesses to the truth of what happened.
1Lt. Patrick Martinez, Col. Isidro Purisima, Gen. Iriberri, Sec. Coloma and Noynoy Aquino were not there. Their pronouncements trivialize the killings, disregard our sufferings and fears, belittle our search for justice and security for our families – their lies insult our dignity as human beings, as honest people and as responsible Filipinos. The continuing vilification of our organization, our schools, our community and our persons while we are grieving insults us. Is it easy for them to make up stories to fool us into believing that it was an encounter? Will they again accuse us of being NPA, that our schools are that of the NPA, that the NPA are teaching us to justify summarily killing us? WE WILL NOT QUIETLY ACCEPT THESE BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL LIES!
IF THEY INTENDED TO SILENCE US, THEY ARE WRONG! They have made a mistake in killing Onel, Emok and Datu Bello, because instead of intimidating and silencing hundreds of us who directly witnessed the brutal killing of the three, many have given strong testimonies, many refuse to be silenced and many refuse to hide what they know: many are crying for JUSTICE!
We will honor the deaths of our recent martyrs through our strong commitment to the truth. The threats against us continue, especially against the leaders, teachers and strong witnesses of what happened in Lianga. Many have been sent threatening texts, our families who are still in Brgy. Diatagon are being visited to silence those who have been exposing the truth. The police and military officials are visiting our families, including the families of those who were killed, to prevent us from telling the truth. BUT WE WILL NOT BE COWED BY THESE THREATS TO OUR LIVES BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT WE ARE ON THE SIDE OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND TRUE.
STOP THE BRUTAL OPLAN BAYANIHAN OF NOYNOY AQUINO AND AFP!
Defend our communities! Defend and protect our schools!
TAMBULI TU KALINOW! PANEYTOW TU KAHUSOY! BUGDUKA TU ANYADAN! Call for peace! Achieve justice! Defend the right to education!
12-13 September 2015
DAY OF CONDEMNATION AND UNITED ACTION FOR JUSTICE
From Lingkod Katribu: