Lumad forced to
evacuate anew for fear of aerial strikes
July 7, 2017
SURIGAO DEL SUR –
“Hindi naman kami terorista pero kami ang inooperasyon ng militar” (We
are not terrorists yet we are targeted by military operations),
Josephine Pagalan, a Lumad council member of Sandugo – Movement of
Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination said a day after
2,047 Lumad residents of Lianga, Surigao del Sur left their homes for
fear of airstrikes. This came after the Supreme Court upheld Pres.
Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao due to the terrorist threat of ISIS
in Marawi City.
On July 5, 2017 at around
1am, a bomber plane of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
hovered around the mountains in the nine communities of Lianga,
including Han ayan, where two years ago Lumad leaders Datu Juvello
Sinzo, Dionel Campos and school administrator Emerito Samarca were
massacred by Magahat-Bagani paramilitary group with the 36th Infantry
Battalion. The 75th IBPA, 36th IBPA and 6th Special Forces Battalion
have been conducting military operations in these areas since July 3,
Pagalan also represents
Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), a Lumad
organization based in the Caraga region.
“Hindi pa nga kami
nakakabangon sa pagbabakwit namin, nagbabakwit na naman kami” (We have
yet to recover from being dislocated, and now we are again forced to
evacuate), Pagalan said. The Lumad from Lianga spent more than a year
in an evacuation center in Tandag City after the massacre on September
1, 2015. They returned in 2016 to find their homes and fields
ransacked and wrecked.
“Ang mga Lumad at Moro ang
binibigwasan ng batas militar. Nasisira ang buhay at kinabukasan ng
aming mga anak dahil hindi makapag-aral,” (The Lumad and Moro bear the
brunt of martial law. Our lives and our children’s future our
destroyed with their schooling interrupted) Pagalan said. “Military
approach has never been an effective solution to the country’s
problems. Martial law and All-Out war only impacts their way of life
and culture, thus driving them to fight back,” Pagalan said.
“Kung gusto talaga ni Pres.
Duterte na matigil ang rebelyon o maging ang terorismo , kailangang
malutas niya muna ang mga dahilan ng armadong tunggalian. Sa aming mga
pambansang minorya, ito ay kahirapan, pang-aagaw sa lupang ninuno at
teritoryo at daang taong karahasan,” (If Pres. Duterte truly wants to
end rebellion or even terrorism, he first needs to resolve the roots
of the armed conflict. For us national minorities, this is poverty,
land grabbing of ancestral lands and territories and hundred years of
violence) Pagalan said.
A total of 633 Lumad
students including 43 volunteer teachers from the Alternative Learning
Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), Inc. and
five community schools run by the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao
del Sur are affected with the suspension of classes due to the
evacuation. The evacuees, are curently staying at the Simowao Tribal