JUSTICE FOR EMERITO, DIONEL AND AURELIO, VICTIMS OF THE SEPTEMBER 1 MASSACRE IN SURIGAO DEL SUR!
We at SOLIDAGRO vehemently condemn the murder of EMERITO “Emuk” SAMARCA, Executive Director of Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), DIONEL CAMPOS, Chairperson of MAPASU (Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod or Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation), and his cousin AURELIO SINZO. They have been killed by the paramilitary group MAGAHAT/BAGANI, which has been organized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, around 4AM, September 1, 2015.
ALCADEV has been providing assistance to the Lumad in the Caraga region through high school education and enhancing sustainable agriculture practices with the Lumad communities. Emerito Samarca served as Executive Director with much vigor and sincerity to reach the goals and mission of ALCADEV. He has amply contributed to ALCADEV’s topping the regional (CARAGA) level of the National Literacy Award in the outstanding literacy program category and subsequently placed fifth in the national level last year.
But despite the meaningful output of ALCADEV in educating and assisting the Lumad people, they experience regular threats and obnoxious vilification from the government through the armed forces assigned in the area.
Their partner people’s organization, MAPASU chaired by Mr. Dionel Campos was instrumental in the building of the school in 2004. MAPASU takes its pride in defending their ancestral domain and preserving their customs and tradition, and at the same time, improving their lives with secondary education provided by ALCADEV.
Mr. Samarca and Mr. Campos are staunch advocates of the rights of the indigenous peoples, and of the “Save our School” campaign. Their recent activities were to seek audience with the local government of Surigao del Sur to assist them with the Lumad’s predicament of their schools being harassed, and threat of being closed.
We are outraged by this event whereby development workers are being subject to targets of paramilitary and armed forces of the government. The right to development of the people is being curtailed through violence, and through arbitrarily pointing at our partner NGOs who are assisting communities which are poor and deprived of government services. Development programs in other regions have experienced the same as what ALCADEV has experienced: trumped -up charges have been pressed on development workers, and are threatened and harassed in the communities that they serve.
We join all our partners, other international and local NGOs, and others who work for genuine development in the call for justice. Harassing communities and those who assist them is absolute injustice to the people.
Justice for EMERICO SAMARTA!
Justice for DIONEL CAMPOS!
Justice for AURELIO SINZO!
Justice for all development workers threatened by government repression!
Justice for the lumad communities, and other communities that struggle for their land and resources!