SAN FRANCISCO – Students at San Francisco State University stood in solidarity against the deaths of three Lumad tribal leaders.
Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, and Bello Sinzo were the three who were murdered in the early morning of Sept. 1 after a paramilitary group entered the Manobo community in Surigao del Sur.
According to media reports, the paramilitary group told the people to stop supporting the communist New People’s Army and to allow companies to operate on their land.
All three victims were teachers and so students and educators held vigils to call for justice.
“They say that it is a paramilitary group, a group that was acting on its own accord but again there were scouts from the AFP that was gathering information, gathering intelligence,” said Jordan Ilagan of The League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State (LFS-SFSU). “The AFP still to this day maintains a very, very strong presence”
These students say that the deaths of these three individuals continue to prove President Aquino’s supposed neglect of the Filipino people.
“Executing educators is still happening in the Philippines under his term, that under his military that these killings are happening,” said Ilagan. “So this is another example in a long line of failures in President Aquino’s presidency.”
Patrick Racela visited this community last summer during an exposure trip and he testifies that the people were not rebels and nothing justifies their deaths.
“We recognize that the work that these people are doing is what’s lifting up their communities,” said Racela. “They already proven that they don’t need that assistance from the government because they were able to do it without them after being marginalized for so many years.”
Meanwhile Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri assured that the military was not involved in the killings of the Lumads.
The National Bureau of Investigation is ready to probe on the incident.