DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Three lumad died in a brutal shooting when army soldiers based in Lianga town in Surigao del Sur allegedly fired their weapons indiscriminately in Sitio Panukmoan, Barangay Diatagon on June 15.
Human rights group, KARAPATAN in Caraga region, identified the victims as Willy Rodriguez and siblings Lenie and Angel Rivas.
Angel, 12, was a Grade 6 student of the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) while Willy and Lenie were members of the lumad organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU).
Initial report from KARAPATAN-Caraga showed that farmers sought permission from the military to harvest their abaca hemp when the alleged indiscriminate firing happened.
The 3rd Special Forces Battalion reportedly brought the victims to a military brigade headquarters in St. Christine, Lianga and presented them as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
According to KARAPATAN, the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and 3rd Special Forces Battalion under a certain Capt. Aranas built a detachment at KM 18 and has allegedly encamped the community in Manluy-a for several months now.
Save Our Schools (SOS) Network recalled the ‘’2015 Barangay Diatagon, Lianga Massacre’’ that killed Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), and community leaders Dionel Campos, chairperson of MAPASU, and an elder, Datu Bello Sinzo.
Samarca was found dead inside the school’s faculty room with his neck slashed while the two lumad leaders were shot in front of the community.
KARAPATAN denounced the ‘’nanlaban’’ or fought back narrative of the soldiers as they told the community that the three lumad died because they fought back.
“This only shows how monstrous and desperate this government is in silencing the Lumad resistance. In this administration, children were not spared in brutal attacks like the killings of Talaingod Manobo students Alibando Tingkas and Obello Bay-ao by a paramilitary group few years ago,” SOS Network spokesperson Rius Valle said.
On Wednesday evening, June 16, Valle, on his FB post, said the bodies of the three slain lumad were already retrieved.
He said the faces of the 12-year old girl and her older sister were disfigured while their genitals were ‘’crushed’’ suspecting rape prior to the alleged execution.
Various groups will be holding an indignation protest for lumad killings in front of the Commission on Human Rights office in Quezon City on June 17.