The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has resorted to starving the Lumads in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and red-tagging Lumad supporters.
After exposing violent military operations and attacks against the Lumad communities, volunteer teachers and supporters of Lumad schools are being harassed by elements of the AFP. According to Save Our Schools (SOS) Network, volunteers and supporters are blocked from bringing food and other assistance to the evacuated Lumads.
Despite repeated attempts to reason out with the AFP’s 75th Infantry Battalion, SOS and the Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) planning to bring food to the Lumad evacuation site have been prevented from passing the Kilometer 6 checkpoint manned by the military.
As if adding insult to injury, the Philippine Army has tagged SOS and TRIFPSS as “schools and supporters of the terrorist NPA (New People’s Army).” With Martial Law still in full-scale in Mindanao and with the Duterte government’s pronouncement that the NPA is a terrorist group, the AFP has made the Lumad schools open targets.
More than 340 Lumad families with 1,688 individuals have already evacuated since November 26, 2017 because of the ongoing military operations in 14 Lumad communities in Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga and Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin.
These are the same Lumad communities that evacuated last September 1, 2015, the year when MAPASU Chairperson Dionel Campus, Datu Juvello and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) Executive Director Emerito Samarca were killed by alleged military elements.
“These blatant attacks against the people who only expose the military’s atrocities only prove how fascist these state forces are. They are not just consistent at violating human rights of the IPs (indigenous peoples) but also at spreading lies and fake news,” SOS underscored.
*Photo Credit: Save Our School Network