Press Release
September 29, 2015


LUMAD witnesses in the killing spree that took the lives of three of their leaders in Sitio Han-ayan, Lianga town are ready to tell all in public hearings to be led by Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona III in Surigao del Sur's capital, Tandag City, on October 1 and 2.

Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV); Dionel Campos, chair of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU); and Datu Bello Sinzo were allegedly publicly executed early September by heavily armed men.

Presently, an estimated 3,000 internally displaced Lumads from five municipalities have evacuated to Tandag City fearing the escalation of violence allegedly perpetrated by the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary unit. The communities they left behind have turned into ghost towns.

Triggered by the urgent plea of Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel, the hearings form part of the combined probe of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and Subcommittee on Cultural Communities's into the recent Lumad killings.

Pimentel asked to hold the Senate investigation in his province to allow for the participation of local witnesses.

During these hearings, personal accounts on the ghastly September 1 murders and other incidents of crimes against the indigenous peoples will be given prominence, with the crucial aim of ferreting out the truth behind the heinous acts. The hearings are also expected to cover similar incidents that have caused the forcible displacement of Lumad tribes in Mindanao.

Expected to join Guingona in the hearings are Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Chairman of Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, families of the victims, human rights groups, military and justice officials.

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