Thursday, September 10, 2015

4-year old Lumad bakwit dies; House, Senate urge probe on Lumad killings

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 Sept) – The House of Representatives and the Senate have filed separate resolutions to investigate the recent killing of Lumads (Indigenous Peoples), the displacement of hundreds of residents in some towns in Surigao del Sur that led to the death of a four-year old evacuee.
“A four year old child has died in the evacuation center yet no action is being taken by the national government to facilitate the Lumads’ return,” Gabriela partylist Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said in a statement released Wednesday.
Eliza Pangilinan, secretary-general of Karapatan-Caraga told MindaNews Wednedsay night that four-year old Merabel Enriquez, a Lumad from Magkahunaw, Barangay Buhisan in San Agustin town suffered a severe asthma attack at the evacuation center in the sports center in Tandag on Tuesday, was rushed to the hospital but expired there.
Pangilinan said the Enriquez family arrived at the sports center in Tandag City on September 2.
TENT BREAKFAST. Displaced villagers from barangay Diatagon, Lianga town in Surigao del Sur eat their breakfast under the tent at the sports center turned evacuation area in Tandag City, September 4, 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas[/caption]
At the Senate, Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, filed Senate Resolution 1575 urging the Senate to conduct an investigation into this “possible case of extrajudicial killings, and on the continued existence of paramilitary groups which I believe must be immediately reviewed and disbanded.
“This situation of Lumads being harassed, killed and displaced will turn into a humanitarian crisis, if the national government does not intervene,” she warned in a press statement issued Wednesday.
“I seek justice for the death of our Lumad leaders. Harassment of indigenous communities in Mindanao must stop,” she said.
At the House of Representatives, House Resolution 2358, introduced last Monday, directed the Committee on Human Rights to “conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the extrajudicial killings” of the executive director of an alternative learning center and two others in Lianga, Surigao del Sur on September 1, “allegedly perpetrated by members of the Philippine Army and a paramilitary group.”
Killed were Emerito Samarca, 54, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev); Dionel Campos, chair of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), and Campos’ cousin, Aurelio Sinzo.
According to the report of Karapatan-Caraga, Samarca was found dead with a stab wound and a slit open throat inside one of the classrooms of Alcadev in Sitio Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon in Lianga, while Campos and Sinzo were reported killed in front of residents rounded up by the perpetrators.
Witnesses pointed to members of the Magahat-Bagani Force, a paramilitary group composed of Lumads and believed to be organized and supported by the military, as the culprits. -From mindanews.com

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