For Immediate Release
September 4, 2015
Kenneth Crebillo, Youth Desk, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Gonzalez, Educational Development Officer, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), email@example.com
Justin Katigbak, Mass Campaigns Officer, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Human Rights Advocates demand justice for the killing of Lumad leaders in Surigao Del Sur
The Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) condemns the torture and extrajudicial killing of indigenous Lumad tribal leaders and educators allegedly by elements of the 36th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and paramilitary force, Maghat Bagani forces at the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), tribal school in Sitio Han-ayan, Surigao Del Sur, Mindanao in the morning of September 1, 2015. Those slain include Emirito Samarca, executive directer of ALCADEV, Dionel Camps, chairperson of Malahutayong Pakigbison sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo. This is just three days after two brothers were killed in Surigao Del Sur, alleged by the tribal forces known locally as Bagani.
ALCADEV is one of many Lumad schools that provides relevant education to Lumad communities that the Philippine government fails to provide to indigenous communities. These schools teach children crucial skills such as literacy, math, sustainable agricultural production, and an understanding of their political and human rights. ALCADEV has been supportive of MAPASU’s campaign to defend indigenous lands against development of large scale mining and plantations and to fight for self determination. Due to this, alternative indigenous schools have been maliciously tagged as “NPA Schools” and have been subject to harassment, occupation, disruption, and military violence.
These are just the latest acts of violence caused by the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the U.S.- Aquino’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. In the guise of upholding “peace and “security”, Oplan Bayanihan, just like the previous counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya of the U.S.- Arroyo regime, brought not peace and security, but instead death, torture, violence, harassments and the occupation of land in Lumad communities. There are currently over 2,000 Lumads from the community that have evacuated to find safe locations away from the aggression of the Armed Forces of the Philippine and other paramilitary forces in the area.
The Philippine government is denying Lumads of their rights to free, relevant, and uninterrupted education, as well as the Lumads’ right to life. The Armed Forces of the Philippines are violating international humanitarian laws that the Philippines are a signatory of, particularly the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/61/295) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As a U.S. based human rights organization, PCHRP recognizes the role of the U.S. government's complicity in militarization, displacement, and murder of indigenous peoples, activists, and human rights defenders in the Philippines. PCHRP calls for the end of U.S. military aid to the Philippines which is allocated at $50 million of our tax money every year towards military financing which directly assists in human rights violations, and strengthens counterinsurgency programs against community leaders. We call for an end to the Visiting Forces Agreement, and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which allows U.S. soldiers to train and increase AFP military operations that target civilians and violates their human rights. The disruption of the education of indigenous youth and students, military occupation, violent and traumatizing deaths of community leaders, and the peril that comes with evacuations can’t be ignored by the international community. PCHRP calls upon all youth, students, womyn, LBGTQ, and all defenders of peace, justice, and human rights around the world to rise in solidarity on an international level and demand justice for Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, Bello Sinzo, and all community members of Han-ayan and Surigao Del Sur who are fighting for their rights to live, to be educated, and their rights to self-determination.
JUSTICE FOR EMERITO SAMARCA, DIONEL CAMPOS, BELLO SINZO AND THE TABUGOL BROTHERS!
STOP EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS!
TROOPS OUT OF COMMUNITIES!
END OPLAN BAYANIHAN AND STATE SPONSORED VIOLENCE!
END IMPUNITY NOW!
JUNK EDCA AND ALL U.S. MILITARY SUPPORT TO THE PHILIPPINES!
Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) is an organizing committee of immigrant youth, students, professionals, workers and allies working together in solidarity to advance in the national democratic movement in the Philippines, in the United States through education, leadership development and political action.