“No perpetrator has been arrested, while the 36th and 75th infantry battalion and Special Forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines continue their military operations in the mountain areas.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – As military operations continue in their communities, Lumads evacuees from four towns of Surigao del Sur had risen to some 2,700 individuals, now seeking sanctuary at the provincial capital Tandag City.
Karapatan-Caraga said, as of Sept.6, some 500 families from 19 Lumad communities in the towns of Lianga, San Agustin, Tago and San Miguel are now staying at the Provincial Sports Complex in Tandag City.
Meanwhile, the remains of Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos and Datu (tribal chieftain) Juvello (earlier posted as Bello) Sinzo lie in wake at the nearby Provincial Capitol building. Members of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani Force killed the three men on Sept. 1 in Han-ayan community in Diatagon village, Lianga.
The exodus of the Lianga and San Agustin communities on Sept. 1 were triggered by the killings and harassment of the community, along with the encampment by soldiers of the 36th and 75th infantry battalions and Special Forces. Fear spreads in the tribal villages amid the continued patrolling by soldiers and paramilitary men.
A total of 83 families with 432 individuals from Bolhoon village in San Miguel town also proceeded to Tandag City on Sept. 3, transferring from the San Miguel municipal gymnasium. Bolhoon residents have evacuated to the municipal gym since Aug. 9, following attacks by paramilitary groups on the community and the Nalindog tribal school. On Sept.5, 16 families with 81 individuals from the Tambonon community in Bolhoon, also feared suffering similar attacks, and joined those in Tandag.
Nine tribal schools, with 676 students and 47 teachers, have stopped classes due to the evacuation.
The three victims are set to be buried this week.
“As of present, no perpetrator has been arrested, (while) the 36th IB, 75th IB and Special Forces of the AFP continue their military operations in the mountain areas. The members of the Bocales bandit group continue to be used and coddled by the AFP despite its members being positively identified as killers,” Karapatan-Caraga said in its statement.
The group has called for the arrest and prosecution of the paramilitary groups involved in the Lianga and San Miguel killings, and dismantling and disarming of paramilitary groups.
Karapatan-Caraga said the evacuees also demand “an end to militarization of their communities so that they can immediately return home, their children can continue their schooling and they can recover from the destruction and loss to lives, property and opportunities that these incidents have resulted to.”