PROSECUTE THE KILLERS OF LUMAD EDUCATOR & IPs, DISBAND PARAMILITARY GROUP – SOS Network

In a press conference held early morning today, the Save Our Schools Network strongly condemned yet another case of extrajudicial killings of a lumad educator and IP leaders in Surigao del Sur yesterday.

On September 1, Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) executive director Emerito Samarca together with Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MaPaSu) chair Dionel Campos and his cousin Belio Sinzo were gunned down by elements of paramilitary armed group Magahat/Bagani forces. The said paramilitary group is under the auspices of the 36th Infantry Battalion of the AFP.

According to SOS Network spokesperson Kharlo Manano, the incident happened within the premises of ALCADEV campus at Sitio Han-Ayan, Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

‘This is outrageous! Truly, schools under the watch of the Aquino administration have become killing fields for even educators and lumad leaders who have shed sweat and tears in order to set up these schools are now being killed in these very grounds,’ Manano added.

Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development or 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.

‘The new spate of killings will undoubtedly send waves of terror not only among the affected communities but also to other indigenous areas where lumad schools are operating,” said Manano.

Manano lamented that the ALCADEV has 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 state forces and their rabid paramilitary groups.

After the presscon, Manano together with the students and teachers of ALCADEV and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao Sur (TRIFPSS) went to the senate. Manano said that they will also lobby the recent case to Senator Grace Poe who have initiated a book drive for the benefit of lumad community schools in Mindanao.

On the other hand, Manano urged the government to immediately conduct investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable. ‘We demand justice for this blatant human right violation! Perpetrators of this gruesome crime should be prosecuted and all means should be exhausted to disband all paramilitary groups and to pull out all military and paramilitary troops in the countrysides,’ he ended. ###

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