Legarda Seeks Senate Probe on Recent Killing of Lumads

September 9, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda strongly condemned the recent killing of Lumad leaders by alleged paramilitary forces in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and has sought a Senate inquiry on the issue.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, filed Senate Resolution No. 1575 as she expressed concern over the spate of killings of Lumad leaders and other reports about the harassment of indigenous communities in Mindanao.

“This situation of Lumads being harassed, killed and displaced will turn into a humanitarian crisis, if the national government does not intervene. I seek justice for the death of our Lumad leaders. Harassment of indigenous communities in Mindanao must stop,” said Legarda.

According to reports, elements of Magahat-Bagani Force, a paramilitary group, allegedly killed Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV); Dionel Campos, chairperson of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation or MAPASU); and Datu Juvello Sinzo, a chieftain of the Village of Kiwagan, Barangay San Isidra, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

More than a thousand families evacuated their homes following the incident.

The Magahat-Bagani Force was also believed to be responsible for the killing of Henry Alameda and Aldren Damaguit in 2014, among other alleged crimes and violations.

“The Senate should conduct an investigation into this possible case of extrajudicial killing, and on the continued existence of paramilitary groups which I believe must be immediately reviewed and disbanded. The families and friends of the victims demand justice for the massacre of the three individuals and the disruption of lives in an entire community. We call for a solution to put an end to unwarranted killings in Mindanao,” Legarda concluded.