Denounce aerial bombings on lumad communities in Surigao del Sur, Duterte’s crime against humanity – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – As lumad groups and advocates raise the alarm against intensified military operations, particularly aerial bombings of communities in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town in Surigao del Sur, the Anakpawis urged the people to denounce the atrocity which is actually an addition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s record of crimes against humanity.
“Attacking civilian populations is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law, particularly the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Geneva Conventions Protocol II of 1977. We are appealing for the International Criminal Court and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to document this incident and consider as reference to Duterte’s pending cases,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
Based on an alert advisory posted by Save Our Schools (SOS) Caraga Region, last July 15, lumad residents of Sition Panukoman and Decoy in Brgy. Diatagon of the said town fled their community in the middle of the night, after being disturbed by military operations carried out by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
At around 1am, residents saw and heard four helicopters, two planes and two drones hovering above the skies, and at 2am, they heard bomb explosion eight times. The group said that children and elderly were traumatized. It added that military operations at the area began on July 8, as the lumad community claim that it is part of the clearing operations for mining exploration targeting their ancestral lands and communities.
“Article 7 on Crimes Against Humanity of the Rome Statute clearly stated ‘inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health,’ while on the Geneva Conventions Protocol II Article 13 on the Protection of the Civilian Population, that “the civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.” There should be no debate that Duterte as commander-in-chief and his fascist armed forces are criminals against humanity,” Casilao slammed.
He added that even the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1674 in 2006 reaffirmed the provisions on protecting civilian populations, as result of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document.
“This is clearly Duterte removing the Philippines from the civilized map. The regime does not respect the internationally-accepted principles of protecting human rights, and continues to violate it as part of his tyrannical rule over the people. He is even on a rampage on violating the 1987 constitution protecting the people’s right to life, liberty, property, safety, to due process and rule of law,” the former lawmaker stressed.
The lumad group Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sa Sumusunod or Mapasu said in 2018 that thousands of lumad indigenous people evacuated from upland areas of Diatagon and San Agustin town, as five coal mining companies were then set to operate. Then, the Department of Energy offered an energy contract, for five coal blocks or 5,000 hectares, estimated with 209 million metric tons of coal. Coal operating contracts involved a Chinese firm Great Wall Mining and Power Corp., and Abacus Consolidated Resources and Holdings, Inc.
Also, the anti-mining group Caraga Watch identified five companies are itching to operate in the province, Benguet Corp. of the Romualdez family, Abacus Coal Exploration and Development Corp., Chinese-owned Great Wall Mining and Power Corp., ASK Mining and Exploration Corp. and CoalBlack Mining Corp., but were faced with opposition of lumad communities rejecting the Free Prior Informed Consent.
“Thus, it is Duterte who is the champion of oligarchs, at the cost of attacking helpless lumad communities. We urge the people and the international community to denounce this crime against humanity and hold him accountable for his atrocities,” he ended. ###