3 Lumad farmers killed in Surigao del Sur

Manobo children try to continue with their daily chores as students at the evacuation site in Tandag City on Octo. 1, 2015. Some 3000 mostly Manobo Lumads fled their homes in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and neighboring areas after the massacre on Sept. 1 of three Lumad leaders in the area by alleged paramilitary men. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) — Three Lumad farmers belonging to the Manobo tribe were killed by alleged members of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion in Surigao del Sur on Tuesday, Katribu said in a statement Thursday.

Katribu said the fatalities identified as Willy Rodriguez, Lenie Rivas and Angel Rivas were killed while harvesting abaca in Sitio Panukmoan, Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town.

Rodriguez and Rivas belonged to the Lumad organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusund, while Rivas, 12, was a student of the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) school, “contrary to the NTF-ELCAC’s (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) claims of Angel being a NPA (New People’s Army) ‘child warrior’,” the group said.

It said the 3rd SFB and the 48th Infantry Battalion have encamped in the area for several months already.

In a statement Wednesday, human rights group Karapatan said the victims’ bodies were brought to St. Christine and were tagged as members of the NPA.

TRIFPSS and many other schools for Lumad in Mindanao have been accused as fronts of the NPA, an accusation denied by the groups running these institutions.

The military is yet to issue a statement on the alleged massacre.

On Sept. 1, 2015, three Lumad leades in Diatagon were killed by alleged paramilitary men leading to the evacuation of some 3,000 residents to Tandag City, the provincial capital.

The killings led to an investigation by the Senate a month after. (MindaNews)