Volunteer Lumad teacher charged with attempted murder

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 19 July) – The volunteer Lumad teacher is temporarily detained at Station 1 of the Butuan City Police Office after his arrest in Tandag City on Sunday as he is facing attempted murder charges.

Image from Karapatan Caraga Facebook page

Maj. Jennifer Ometer, Public Information Officer of Police Regional Office 13 Caraga, said that based on the case documents, Campos was charged after he was seen joining with alleged New People’s Army rebels in an ambush on November 16, 2016, in Barangay Sto. Niño in Bayugan City.
 
Ometer said it was unclear what Army unit lodged the complaint against Campos since it was not mentioned in the warrant of arrest.
 
Campos will be transferred to the detention cell in Bayugan City since the issuing judge of the arrest warrant, Judge Fernando Fudalan of Regional Trial Court Branch 7, is based there.
 
Campos, who graduated with an education degree at St. Theresa College in Tandag City, was on his way to a review center to prepare for the upcoming licensure examination for teachers when he was arrested at 1 p.m. Sunday, according to the human rights group Karapatan-Caraga.
 
Karapatan believed this is yet another case of trumped-up charges to harass activists.
 
In a press statement, Karapatan reported that Campos was still able to contact his friends around 8 p.m. Sunday, where he said he was calling from the police station in Butuan and was arrested earlier that day and presented with a warrant of arrest.
 
Campos, a Lumad Manobo, graduated from the Lumad school Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) for his elementary and secondary years. He finished his education degree with the help of the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA) scholarship program of the Diocese of Tandag.
 
He had volunteered as a teacher at TRIFPSS upon graduation with an intent to serve and give back to his community what knowledge he had gained, Karapatan said. He had also volunteered to teach at a local school in Tandag City under the Department of Education, the group added.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. France Castro condemned the arrest and called for his release.

“Teacher Gary is a teacher-leader who stood up for the rights of the Lumads, their rights to education and their rights to their ancestral lands,” the lawmaker said. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)