In Agusan, ‘lumad’ teacher nabbed, faces rap over 2016 NPA ambush | Inquirer News
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In Agusan, ‘lumad’ teacher nabbed, faces rap over 2016 NPA ambush

Map of Surigao del Sur. STORY: In Agusan, ‘lumad’ teacher nabbed, faces rap over 2016 NPA ambush

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur, Philippines — A volunteer “lumad” (indigenous peoples) teacher in Surigao del Sur affiliated with organizations that have been red-tagged by the military was arrested recently over a 2016 attempted murder charge, a police official said.

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Maj. Jennifer Ometer, public information officer of the Caraga regional police office, said that based on the case documents, Gary Campos was charged for his alleged participation in an ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Nov. 16, 2016, in Barangay Sto. Niño, Bayugan City.

But Ometer said she was not aware which unit of the Philippine Army lodged the complaint against Campos as the information did not appear in the warrant of arrest and related documents in the police’s possession.

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Campos was arrested on Sunday in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, and was taken to Butuan City, Caraga’s regional capital in Agusan del Norte some 170 kilometers away, for temporary detention at Police Station 1.

ScholarHe is scheduled to be transferred to a detention cell in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur, after his presentation before Regional Trial Court Branch 7, which issued the arrest warrant.

In a statement, the human rights group Karapatan-Caraga believed that the charge against Campos was made up and was meant to harass him.

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro condemned the arrest of Campos and demanded his immediate release.

“Teacher Gary is a teacher-leader who stood up for the rights of the lumad, their rights to education and their rights to their ancestral lands,” Castro said.

Campos was on his way to a review center to prepare for this year’s licensure examination for teachers when he was arrested around 1 p.m. on Sunday, according to Karapatan-Caraga.

Campos, a Manobo, earned his education degree from St. Theresa College of Tandag under a scholarship from the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate of the Catholic Diocese of Tandag.

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As a way of giving back to his community, Campos volunteered as a teacher to lumad children at the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS), where he completed grade school. He finished high school at the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev).

Campos is also a member of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu), a lumad group fighting efforts to exploit Surigao del Sur’s Andap Valley Complex, which is said to hold one of the world’s largest coal reserves.

TRIFPSS, Alcadev and Mapasu had been tagged by the military as fronts of the communist insurgency.

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Group seeks release of Lumad volunteer teacher nabbed in Surigao del Sur

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