Forcible Evacuation of 378 families from 16 Lumad Communities in Surigao del Sur;
Case: FORCIBLE EVACUATION, VIOLATION OF DOMICILE, INDISCRIMINATE FIRING
Victim/s: 378 families with 1,783 individuals
Place of Incident: Lumad (indigenous peoples) communities of Lianga, San Agustin and Tago, Surigao del Sur
Date of Incident: October 27, 2014
1.Operating troops of the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, based in St. Christine, Lianga, Surigao del Sur under LTC. Jesus Durante
2.Operating troops of the 36th IB PA
3.Operating troops of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion
4.401st Brigade, Philippine Army
5.Operating troops of the CAFGU
6.Members of the paramilitary group of Calpit Egua
7.Marcos Bocales, trusted member and follower of Calpit Egua, former leader of Task Force Gantangan – Bagani Force that was handled by the 29th IBPA in Manobo areas in Surigao del Sur
Account of the Incident:
Since the start of October military troops from the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 36th IB PA and 401st Brigade, Philippine Army have been launching military operation in the mountain areas of San Lorenzo , Prosperidad, Agusan Sur; Lianga and San Miguel in Surigao del Sur.
October 22, 2014 at dawn, an undetermined number of operating troops of the 36th IB PA were seen in the vicinity of Sitio Kapatagan, San Roque, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.
Early morning of October 24, 2014 more or less 30 armed men belonging to the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, PA and some paramilitary armed men identified as followers of Datu Calpit Egua were on foot patrol in Upper Oregon, Logdeck, San Isidro , Lianga. About 17 of those troops including members of Datu Calpit Egua’s paramilitary group went to the neighboring Sitio Cabalawan, San Isidro , Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
At around 7:00am of the same day, MAPASU council member Henry Sarsona Alameda, 44 years old, was shot pointblank twice on the chest and one to his head and killed outside his home in Cabalawan, San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur by three armed men believed to be members of Calpit Egua’s armed paramilitary group. M16 bullet shells were found in the crime scene. Witnesses identified a certain Waway Belandres as one of the three armed men. Waway Belandres is one of the trusted men of Calpit Egua.
In Simowao, Diatagon, Surigao del Sur, at around 6 o’clock in the evening, military men and Bagani paramilitary members went by the house of Genasque Enriquez, General Secretary of KASALO-CARAGA.
October 25, 2014 military men belonging to the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion were seen in Logdeck, St. Christine.
October 26, 2014 armed men went into the houses of residents in the communities of Panukmoan and Manluy-a in Brgy. Diatagon to intimidate community members.
October 26, 2014, at around 1pm military men belonging to the 36th B PA were seen passing by Hayon, Libas Sud, San Miguel. One of the military men told community members that “Dunay ra baamong naalaan nga duha ka mag-uuma, kalooy adto (We chanced upon two men in the mountainsand thought they were members of the NPA).”
October 27, at around 8 o’clock in the evening, around 6 armed men in civilian clothes passed by the house of Datu Ombid Fresco in Kabulohan. At around 9 o’clock in evening, 2 armed men knocked on the door of the community cooperative store in Kabulohan, Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin.When the couple living in the cooperative store did not answer, one of the armed men then shouted,“Ablihi ni kay kung dili buak lagi ang inyo ulo (“open the door or I’ll crack your head open”). In fear, Richard Tejero, the cooperative caretaker, opened the door. The two armed men immediately kicked the door and pushed Richard inside, ransacked and stole almost all the supplies from the store, including rice and a container of kerosene. The armed men then proceeded towards the school and on the way set the Corn Sheller given by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the community on fire. Upon reaching the school, they poured kerosene on the tarpaulin of the UNICEF which declared that “All schools are peace zones. Don’t use it as command post, detachment and supply depots. RA 7610 Protection of the Rights of Children” then set it on fire. They then poured kerosene on the walls of the school and set it on fire. The community members upon seeing their school burning shouted and ran towards the school to put out the fire.
The armed men then indiscriminately fired their guns causing the people to scramble for safety. One of the school’s teacher Josephine Trimidal who is 8 months pregnant, and her husband jumped from their house near the school in fear they will be hit by bullets. The teachers living in the teacher’s cottage, Julieto and Melanie Trimidal and their 1 year old son also jumped from the cottage in fear of being hit and ran towards the nearby river.
October 27, 2014 in the morning, 378 families with 1,783 individuals from 16 mountain communities began their trek towards the barangay center of Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. They arrived in the late afternoon of the same day. They are currently in the Diatagon Barangay Gym.
The evacuation caused 7 Community Learning Schools to close affecting 569 pupils (270 boys, 279 girls).
Three Learning Centers in Nalindog, Hayon and Sangay in Libas Sud, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur has also closed down because of ongoing military operation affecting 306 students (146 boys, 160 girls).
October 27, at around 7 o’clock in the evening the spokesperson of the 4th ID Major Christian Uy was interviewed in Bombo Radio in Butuan City . He admitted that the 401st Brigade are conducting military operations in San Lorenzo in Prosperidad and in the mountain communities of Lianga and San Miguel in Surigao del Sur. He denied that they are supporting the paramilitary group of Calpit Egua.
Karapatan-Caraga believes that the recent spate of military operations are but another attempt of the US-Aquino government to force the entry of large scale mining within the ancestral lands of the lumad people in the Andap Valley Complex. They are using the paramilitary group of Calpit Egua and targeting the leaders of MAPASU who have been consistent and firm in their refusal to allow coal mining within the Andap Valley Complex. The Andap Valley Complex covers the mountain areas of San Miguel, San Agustin, Marihatag, Cagwait, Tago and Lianga in Surigao del Sur.
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
1.The immediate cessation of military operations.
2.Immediate investigation of the incident.
3.Immediate arrest of perpetrators.
4.The Philippine Government to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major human rights instruments that it is a party and signatory to.
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace ,
JP Laurel St. , San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building , Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue , Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St. , Manila
Direct Line 521-1908
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City , Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights