An Anarchist and Autonomous Community-Based Resource Center in Muntinlupa City (Manila south), Philippines
At a roundtable with the Philippine Daily Inquirer on September 8, when asked about the plight of the lumad, about a surge of deaths and murders in indigenous communities in Mindanao, President Aquio said: “There is no campaign to kill anybody.”
Not that he knows (or would acknowledge) at least.
The President’s answer was not only curt, it was pointless. The truth is he was never asked to confirm the crisis. The assassination of lumad leaders is confirmed and undisputed. The real question was intended to prompt some hint of action. As in: What’s your plan?
In case you haven’t heard: There is fear spreading like a forest fire among communities of lumad – indigenous peoples – in Mindanao.
Recently, tribal leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo were executed in front of hundreds, including children, in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, while in a room of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev), the school to which he had dedicated his life and which had reaped many awards – including from the Department of Education – for its pioneering work with Manobo youth, the beloved educator Emerito Samarca was found with his throat slit from ear to ear.
The gruesome deaths triggered the mass evacuation of close to 3,000 stunned Manobo to Tandag City, where they remain to this day.