NPA behind killings, claim ‘lumad’ leaders
Three “lumad” leaders from Mindanao are now claiming that the Sept. 1 killings and attacks in Lianga, Surigao del Sur province, were perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The tribal chiefs, who came from towns in Surigao del Sur and Davao del Norte, held a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo to clear the military of any involvement in the attacks on lumads.
However, none of them presented any evidence or first-hand information to back up their allegations that the attacks were perpetrated by communist rebels.
Datu Malapandaw Nestor Apas of the Langilan Manobo tribe in Davao del Norte said the murder of three lumad leaders in Lianga were carried out by NPA rebels and not by the military nor the Baganis.
“That is their propaganda, they have no choice but to have their comrades killed too, so that the government will end up being blamed… The NPA is behind all of this,” Apas told a press briefing.
The lumad chiefs sought the help of the military in inviting reporters for their press conference in Camp Aguinaldo.
Apas and his fellow lumad leaders, Datu Marcial Belandres of Barobo, Surigao del Sur and Datu Rico Macat of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, arrived in Manila on Tuesday to “clear issues surrounding lumads in Mindanao.”
The three leaders were referring to the murders of two lumad leaders and the director of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) last Sept. 1 in Sitio (settlement) Han-ayan in Lianga.
Militant groups claimed the Mahagat-Bagani group, allegedly a paramilitary group, killed Alcadev executive director Emerito Samarca and lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo.
The groups alleged that the military was supporting the Mahagat-Bagani group, an allegation that the military has repeatedly denied. Instead, the military is blaming the NPA for the lumad killings.
According to Apas, Belandres and Macat, the NPA was behind the Sept. 1 attacks as well as the exploitation of lumad communities in Mindanao.
But neither of them witnessed the Sept. 1 incident nor presented witnesses and evidence to back up their allegations of NPA involvement in the lumad killings.
Belandres also alleged that Alcadev was a school backed by the NPA and that the school taught communist theories, gun handling and combat to its students.
But asked why the NPA would attack Alcadev if it is an NPA-affiliated school, Apas said it is a propaganda ploy to have the government blamed for the lumad killings.