Hustisya ang isinisigaw ng iba-ibang progresibong grupo sa pagpatay ng militar sa 3 miyembro ng Lumad-Manobo community sa Lianga, Surigao del Sur noong Martes.
This includes a 12-year-old girl.
According to the military, she was a child warrior recruited by the New People’s Army (NPA), which was immediately denied by alias “Jack,” a concerned citizen from Lianga.
“Napakalaking kasinungalingan po nung sinasabi nilang child warrior… Hindi naman ‘yun NPA eh. Nag-aaral nga ‘yan sa DepEd ALS, alternative learning system. Naka-enroll ‘yan sa DepEd. Kilala ‘yan ng coordinator ng DepEd,” said Jack.
Willy Rodriguez, Lenie Rivas, and the minor victim are said to be abaca farmers.
According to Jack, the three Lumad went home to the community to get food when the military opened fire.
“Wala po silang ibang hawak kundi yung kanilang kagamitan sa pag-aani… Kung merong mga baril na ipinakita sa ibang pictures, siguradong planted po yun para lang pagtakpan yung ginawa nilang pagmasaker dun sa mga civilian,” said Jack.
Lianga Mayor Novelita Sarmen confirmed that the Lumad are residents of the area, but she has yet to say what really happened.
‘Massacre’ of 3 Lumad including a 12-year-old condemned
The provincial government has formed a fact-finding mission comprised of various agencies, including the Commission on Human Rights.
“We would also like to ensure a neutral ground for a fair and just fact-finding. We will also continue to facilitate such endeavor para ma-serve ng justice yung tatlong mamatay,” said Sarmen.
But the military insisted that an encounter had taken place.
“According to the report that was submitted to us, they were wielding firearms and they engaged our soldiers in a firefight… This led us to the conclusion that these are members of the NPA,” said AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.
Arevalo could not say if one of the victims had intelligence reports that he was a child warrior, but he mentioned the alleged usual modus operandi of the NPAs.
“They always recruit members of the indigenous communities as their willing prey or as the prey they would like to force into fighting government,” said Arevalo.