Quezon City — People’s organizations registered their condemnation against paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani and the 36th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army for slaying Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, and Aurelio Sinzo in Surigao del Sur .
Samarca was executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood (Alcadev), an alternative learning center for lumad children. Campos was the chairperson of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), the lumads’ national minority group in Surigao del Sur province.
Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay narrated the events that happened at around 4 in the morning on September 1, 2015. According to Palabay, Samarca was killed inside one of the classrooms; his neck, hands, and feet were bound with rope before he was stabbed. Dionel Campos and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo were gunned down in Km. 16, Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga.
Karapatan-Caraga reported in a statement that two days before the killings occurred on September 1 — during the Alcadev’s foundation day celebration — elements of the 36th IBPA with members of the Magahat-Bagani group were seen occupying the school’s function hall and grounds. Magahat-Bagani members reportedly burnt MAPASU’s cooperative store. Samarca was detained by the said group as the school’s staff and guests were preparing to leave. The statement further read that armed elements warned those present in the school that they would massacre the community if they will not leave in two days.
“Basta hindi mayaman at hindi makapangyarihan, sinisipa-sipa lang ng rehimeng ito sa loob ng malamig na kulungan o kaya sa isang hukay ng kamatayan,” said Palabay of the increasing number of political detainees, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial killings in the course of President Benigno Aquino’s five years in office.
The indignation rally demanded justice for the three slain and accountability from the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary group and the 36th IBPA, as well as from the Aquino government. “Ang pinakamataas na hustisya na pwedeng igawad sa nangyaring ito — hindi lamang sa mga katutubo na kasama natin sa Mindanao kung hindi sa iba’t iba pang mga lider ng iba’t iba pang mga sektor na nakakaranas ng patuloy na pagpapaslang at harassment sa ilalim ng rehimeng Aquino — walang ibang pinakamataas na hustisya kung hindi ang pagpapatalsik dito,” Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) spokesperson Louie Zabala said in his statement during the program.