Anakbayan Canada, its chapters and affiliate organizations, vehemently condemns the violent and gruesome murder of three Indigenous Lumad-Manobo, including one minor, by the 3rd Special Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
On June 15, the Philippine Army fired upon a group of farmers as they were harvesting abaca (manila hemp) in Sitio Panukmoan in Lianga. The victims identified were Willy Rodriguez and siblings Lenie and Angel Rivas. Angel was a 12 year old grade 6 student at a Lumad school called Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur. Willy and Lenie were members of Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), a Lumad organization. According to the victims’ relatives, the three even asked permission from the military before going to their farm.
According to reports, the victims’ bodies were presented by the AFP as members of the New People’s Army (NPA). This is a familiar tactic used since the creation of Duterte’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and its subsequent crackdowns on oppressed communities like the Lumad.
For these, President Duterte rewards his armed minions. In Mindanao, military units received 11 million pesos as cash reward for “neutralizing” NPA leaders in addition to the 20 billion pesos funding for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.
This is not the first massacre in Lianga and attack on the Lumads and other Indigenous peoples. In September 2015, two Manobo leaders, Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo along with the ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, Inc) school director Emerico Samarca were killed.
Last December 2020, nine were killed from the Indigenous Tumandok community in Panay.
Earlier this year in February, 26 Lumad school teachers, elders and students were illegally raided and arrested in Cebu.
This recent massacre comes a day after the decision of the International Criminal Court to open the investigation on Duterte’s drug war. The Duterte regime’s intensified attacks against Lumad communities and their right to their education, lands and self-determination shows their desperation to silence their resistance that even children are not spared.
Anakbayan Canada amplifies the call to demand justice for Willy Rodriguez, Lenie and Angel Rivas and to stop Lumad killings! We call on authorities to conduct an immediate investigation on this massacre. As Filipinos in Canada, we must hold Canadian mining companies as well as the Canadian and Philippine government accountable for the human rights violations that continue as foreign and local corporations displace them and extract resources from their ancestral lands.
Justice for Willy Rodriguez, Lenie Rivas and Angel Rivas!
End military encampment of communities!