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GABRIELA SOLON DECRIES ILLEGAL ARREST OF LUMAD VOLUNTEER EDUCATOR, CONTINUED ATTACKS ON SCHOOLS

As the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights begins its two-day hearing on several resolutions filed addressing human rights violations in Mindanao, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzvminda Ilagan decried the recent arrest of a Lumad educator and his brother and the continuing harassment in Lumad communities and schools.

Ilagan deplored the recent attack led by AFP-supported paramilitary groups Magahat and Bagani in Purok 16, Sitio Nalindog, Brgy. Bolhoon Surigao del Sur last August 9 which led to the evacuation of some 45 families and the closure of the Nalindog Tribal Community School operated by the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development.

The paramilitary 12 men carrying M16 rifles, wearing military uniform and carrying military backpacks, forced people, including children, out of their homes.  The residents were ordered to gather at the purok’s waiting shed, where they were interrogated, harassed and threatened. Para-teacher Regine Tejero and 5 months pregnant Angel Vocales were accused of being members of the NPA. They also threatened to burn down the school and volunteer teachers.

The recent attack in Surigao del sur comes less than a week after the illegal arrest of another volunteer teacher in Goingoog City, Misamis Oriental.

“We join calls for the immediate release of Daniel and Ejun Lampusay, wrongfully accused of being members of the New People’s Army and arrested without warrant by elements of the 58th Infantry Battallion. Their illegal arrest demonstrates once more the impunity with which Aquino’s AFP violates the rights of peasants and Lumads,” said Ilagan.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines reports that on August 3, 2015, Daniel and Ejun were arrested in Sitio Kibungkol, Barangay Hindangan, Gingoog City. They were detained for some time at the Day Care Center of the Barangay Hall where the military was stationed and later transferred to the Medina Police Station, and finally to the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail. Daniel was a former volunteer teacher of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR) literacy and numeracy program. He and his brother are Higaonon residents of Sitio Minalwang in Barangay Bal-ason, Gingoog City.

“Dahil walang napapanagot sa mga ginagawang krimen at pandarahas sa mga Lumad, nagpapatuloy ito at tumitindi pa nga. Aquino’s AFP will continue to violate rights, harass Lumad students and their educators and make barracks out of Lumad schools and barangay structures for as long as this government refuses to make the AFP accountable for its crimes,” said Ilagan.

The Gabriela solon accused the Aquino government of tolerating and even sanctioning the human rights violations in order to facilitate the operation of large scale mining corporations and logging concessions in Lumad ancestral lands.

Ilagan attends the two-day committee hearing with fellow Makabayan Reps. Karlos Zarate, Antonio Tinio and Fernando Hicap. The Mindanaoan solon said the Committee on Human Rights may recommend the strengthening of laws or the filing of new legislation to address the increasing cases of human rights violations. The committee may also recommend the filing of cases so that perpetrators may be made accountable.

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy

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