Our Lumad kababayans need help — and understanding.
Here is a Lumad 2015 Reader, which aims to gather as much relevant and verifiable information on what’s happening in Lumads in Mindanao.
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.
To quickly digest the basics, watch this video by Kirby Araullo:
Human rights watchdogs and organizations of indigenous peoples and environmentalists have long raised the alarm over extrajudicial killings of Lumad leaders:
— Pinoy Weekly (@pinoyweekly) September 10, 2015
— Pinoy Weekly (@pinoyweekly) September 8, 2015
Here are the latest murders:
- Emerito Samarca, executive director of Lumad school ALCADEV, was found brutally murdered on Sept. 1, in a classroom of the school he managed. His body bore gunshot and stab wounds, hog-tied and with his throat slit from ear to ear. This happened in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
- Dionel Campos and Jovillo Sinzo were shot dead publicly on Sept. 1, 2015 near ALCADEV, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Campos was the chairman of Lumad community organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU, Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation). Sinzo was the tribal leader of Sitio Kiwagan, Barangay San Isidro.
In fact, 23 Lumad leaders were killed from October 2014 to June 2015 in Northern Mindanao alone, according to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines. Here are some of them:
- Leoncio Arig shot dead on Oct. 2, 2014 at South Upi, Maguindanao. Arig was a chieftain of the Teduray Lumads and was active in Lumad campaigns for self-determination and for ancestral domain.
- Fausto Orasan shot dead on Sept. 14, 2014 at Cagayan de Oro City. Known as “Datu Sandigan”, Orasan was a chieftain of the Higaonon Lumads and was a known foe of mining operations in their ancestral domain.
Sheina Campos, daughter of Lumad leader Dionel Campos. She spoke softly and lovingly about her hardworking and compassionate dad. Vigilantes woke up their Lianga, Surigao del Sur neighborhood on Sept. 1 at 4am, and made them witness the shooting of two Lumad leaders. Sheina’s dad was one of those shot to death. #StopLumadKillings
Missionary priest Fausto Tentorio was shot dead on October 17, 2011 as he left his convent in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato. Tentorio first came to the Philippines in 1978 and had been ministering to Lumads for over 30 years.
- The Samia family, all Lumad, massacred on August 18 at Pangantucan, Bukidnon. Gunned down were: blind grandfather Herminio (70), brothers Joebert (20) and Emir (19), and relatives Elmer (17) and Norman (13). One family member (15) was able to escape and lived to tell their story. Herminio was the second-highest elder of their tribe.
- Lumad school ALCADEV has halted classes after the Sept. 1 murder of its executive director. ALCADEV has won the DepEd’s National Literacy Award twice. Last year, it was a national finalist for the same award. Benedictine sisters in Mindanao have long known this Lumad school and have inspired their sisters in Manila to make ALCADEV an adopted school of St. Scholastica’s College.
- In Davao del Norte alone, threats to Lumad schools endanger the lives and education of close to 3,000 Lumad schoolchildren.
- Military and paramilitary groups have either attacked or occupied Lumad schools across Mindanao. To know more about Lumad schools, check out these infographics and visit the website of Save Our Schools Network:
— Tonyo Cruz (@tonyocruz) September 8, 2015
— Cleve V. Arguelles (@clevearguelles) September 7, 2015
ARRESTS AND TRUMPED-UP CASES EVACUATION AND DISPLACEMENT
- About 2,700 Lumads are now staying at the Surigao del Sur Provincial Sports Complex in Tandag City. They fled their homes due to killings and harassment by the military and paramilitary groups in their communities in Lianga and other towns of Surigao del Sur and CARAGA region.
- 700 Lumads are still at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines’ Haran compound in Davao City. These Lumads fled military operations and military takeover of schools in their communities
- Rep. Nancy Catamco personally led a violent but failed attempt to “rescue” the Lumad evacuees at UCCP’s Haran compound last June 23. She claims the Lumads were either being trafficked or illegally detained at the compound. The UCCP church leadership and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines condemned the incident and rejected claims of Catamco.
- The lone woman chieftain of the Manobo Lumads rejected Catamco’s “rescue” attempt.
- Catamco, who describes herself as a “diwata”, now faces serious charges at the City Prosecutors Office in Davao City, and a petition to have her removed as chair of the House committee on indigenous people.
- One of the few Lumads Catamco rescued — a girl (14) — has been found to have been raped while under military custody. The police has asked the Philippine Army to present the three soldiers suspected of raping the Lumad girl.
- Last July, the United Nations special rapporteur on displaced persons Chaloka Beyani visited the Philippines, upon the invitation of the Philippine government. He was able to meet with Catamco, the military, other government officials and the Lumads.
- In his exit statement, Beyani said:
- In a subsequent statement, Beyani assailed the military for “distorting” and misrepresenting” his exit statements and his remarks during a media briefing.
- Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and other Makabayan Bloc members have filed a resolution asking asked the House to look into the Lumad killings and plight of Lumads.
- Sen. Grace Poe andSen. Loren Legardahave also filed resolutions in the Senate.
- Commission on Human Rights chair Chito Gascon has assailed the killing of ALCADEV chief Samarca and two Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur.
- The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has issued a statement condemning the killings. The bishops found it “disturbing” that the government quickly exonerated the suspects.
- The NCCP, the organization of mainline Protestant churches, has called on authorities to give justice to the victims of the Lianga and Pangantucan massacre, and held the 36th Infantry Batallion aand the paramilitary group Magahat Bagani responsible.
- “Abolish the Lumad-killing militias”, thundered the statement from the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines.
- Read the AMRSP’s letter to President Aquino:
- The International Committee of the Red Cross has extended relief aid to evacuees in Tandag City.
- The New York-based Human Rights Watch has weighed in on the recent spate of killings.
- President Aquino obviously did not heed HRW’s 2012 appeal over Lumad killings.
- The Canada chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines hhas written President Aquino over the Pangantucan massacre.
- The military claims its closure of Lumad schools is supported by the DepEdand that soldiers will be the new teachers for Lumads.
- Eyewitness and survivor accounts all point to paramilitary groups and militias as the perpetrators.
- An eyewitness also said that soldiers merely watched and did not intervene as the vigilantes killed two Lumad leaders in Lianga.
- The military also claims that operations are part of operations against New People’s Army. International humanitarian law — the laws governing armed conflicts — prohibit acts against civilians and civilian communities. The military actually has an obligation to protect Lumads.
- Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel has blamed the military-created paramilitary ggroups and militias for the killings of Lumads, and has asked that they be disarmed. The Philippine Army is now pressuring him to tone down his statements.
- The military is present in areas where there have been killings of Lumads. The officers and soldiers have to blind, deaf and mute if they claim not to know the situation of Lumads:
- The military’s double-speak about Lumads is easy to detect and debunk: General Hernando Iriberri has confirmed military presence in Lumad communities. A pro-military lawmaker has accused Lumads of comprising the majority of NPA fighters in Mindanao.
- Lumads’ ancestral domain are said to be eyed by mining companies.
- For example, Lumads have protested against XR Mining in Lebak town, Sultan Kudarat.
- 80 percent of 131 mining agreements and permits in Mindanao are located in Lumad areas.
- Mining and militarization go hand in hand in Mindanao, as we could see from what happened in Tampakan, South Cotabato:
— Pinoy Weekly (@pinoyweekly) September 9, 2015
— Pinoy Weekly (@pinoyweekly) September 11, 2015
- In 2013, the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, composed of Catholic and Protestant leaders, blamed mining and militarization for the plight of Lumads.
- Check out the Philippine Mining Situation.
— inday espina varona (@indayevarona) July 25, 2015
— Pinoy Weekly (@pinoyweekly) September 7, 2015
— RMP_National (@rmp_natl) September 10, 2015
— Rep. Luz Ilagan (@RepLuzIlagan) September 11, 2015
Ready to take a stand?
Display photo from DavaoToday.com.