We join our fellow Lumads in condemning in the strongest terms the mockery of peace perpetrated by the 58th IB in Surigao Del Sur. These palpable acts reveal the inhumane face of the military that does not have any regard for human rights and peace, and their timing couldn't be any better, at the civil society's observation of the Mindanao Week of Peace.
The death of a military due to an NPA (New People’s Army) landmine is not the fault of the civilian communities but every time there is a casualty on the military's side, the civilian communities always suffer from the military's vengeful attacks. How then do we consider the military as the peoples' protectors or defenders of peace?
This renewed assault on Lumad communities, especially the red-tagging of communities as supporters of the New People’s Army, reinforces the implications of the report of United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is the number one violator of human rights.
As in UNSR Alston's report and in UNSR on indigenous peoples, the AFP has sown ruthless terror against the people, and almost everyday, thousands upon thousands of lumads have fallen prey to its counter-insurgency policy.
Our lumad brethren in Surigao need all the help from concerned institutions, churches and individuals. While the Arroyo government intensifies its attack on the peoples' rights and peace, the people must face it with unity and vigilance.
We reiterate our reverberating call for peace; stop the militarization in Surigao and in other Lumad areas and give justice to all victims of human rights.
Datu Monico Cayog
Vice-Chairperson, PASAKA *
* PASAKA or the Confederation of Lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao is a regional formation of 25 Lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao and North Cotobato