NBI probes ‘lumad’ killings
The National Bureau of Investigation has sent three separate teams to Mindanao as it starts its investigation into the reported lumad killings in the island’s northern and eastern regions.
The Mindanao Indigenous People’s Conference for Peace and Development has recorded at least 400 lumad killings since the 1980s, allegedly in the hands of the military, the communist New People’s Army and various armed groups.
NBI Director Virgilio Mendez confirmed the existence of a list documenting the killings but said it was still being authenticated.
“We will conduct a validation process and get statements from witnesses to authenticate such persons and records from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples,” Mendez said.
He said three NBI teams had been sent to Davao, Cagayan de Oro and the Caraga region to validate the names of those on the list and investigate the lumad killings, particularly the ones at the UCCP-Haran compound in Davao and Talingod, Davao del Norte; Pangantucan, Bukidnon, and Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
He said the NBI and the National Prosecution Service had been given 60 days to complete their investigation and submit their report on the killings to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Edmundo T. Arugay was designated overall head of the NBI teams sent to Mindanao, Mendez said.
He said the NBI has been authorized to find informants who will be admitted to the government’s witness protection program in exchange for their testimonies.
The investigation stemmed from the raid by a group of armed men in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, on Sept. 1 which ended with the killing of three people—the executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) Emerito Samarca and lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo.
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