Press Release
September 21, 2015


SENATOR Teofisto "TG" Guingona III has revealed that para-military forces are decimating helpless indigenous people all over Mindanao and not just in Surigao del Sur.

Guingona pointed out that recent lumad killings have been documented in Davao del Norte, Cotabato, Bukidnon, and Surigao, which are disparate Mindanao areas far away from each other.

"Lumad numbers are dwindling," Guingona warned. "It will be a national tragedy to lose them."

Speaking at the September 18 Usaping Balita Media Forum, Guingona was joined by a 16-year-old lumad named Jan-Jan (not his real name) who survived a massacre last month in Bukidnon, a province 133.4 kilometers away from Lianga, Surigao del Sur where three lumad leaders were recently executed in front of gathered residents.

Jan-Jan related that his family was preparing corn for breakfast when his father suddenly fell dead from a burst of gunfire. Armed with high-powered firearms, the gunmen ordered the rest of the family to show themselves up. Jan-Jan recounted how his whole family was mowed down with their hands up. He was the lone survivor.

"Laganap ang violence laban sa lumad (The violence against lumads is widespread) and it's important for government to restore law and order," Guingona said.

To help stem the tide of violence, Guingona is set to conduct on-site Senate investigations on October 1 in Tandag town, Surigao del Sur where lumads have sought refuge to escape the violence. He will be joined by Senators Bam Aquino and Koko Pimentel in ferreting out the truth from surviving victims, military officials, and local leaders.

In view of developments, Guingona called upon the Senate leadership to pass Senate Bill 2368 in order to protect the rights of internally displaced persons. The bill seeks to criminalize acts of forced internal displacement currently being experienced in Mindanao.

Guingona chairs the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation and is a member of the Committee on Justice.

News Latest News Feed