Silence or inaction to address matter tantamount to govt’s promotion of big business at the expense of indigenous people’s communities
The Education Forum for Development (EfD), a network of 100 schools nationwide advocating transformative education, condemned the killing of Emerito “Emok” Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Livelihood and Agricultural Development (ALCADEV), Dionel Campos, chairperson of Malahutay ng Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU or persevere the struggle for the future generation), and his cousin Bello Sinzo. The Aquino government should take action on the grave human rights violations perpetrated by military and paramilitary troops against Lumad communities including their education facilities, said the group.
The three were killed on Sept. 1 at the grounds of the ALCADEV compound in Han-ayan, Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur allegedly by the paramiltary group Magahat and Bagani troops. Special Forces as well as 36th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army soldiers previously occupied the school grounds and community vicinity during the school’s foundation celebration. According to the residents, the military threatened them to evacuate the premises or be massacred.
It is disturbing that military harassment and attacks against Lumad-built schools as well as their communities have escalated under the Aquino administration, EfD said. The group noted that the communities under attack are in areas where large-scale mining and plantations threaten Lumads’ ancestral lands. “It has been quite ironic how the Lumad communities have autonomously built their own schools due to government’s gross neglect of education, yet have been violently attacked in favor of big, foreign business”, the group said.
“We urge the Aquino administration to take action on these human rights violations”, said the group. “Its silence or inaction to address the matter is tantamount to the government’s promotion of big business at the expense of the lives of the indigenous people’s communities.”