Youth militant groups marched to Camp Aguinaldo around noon on Friday to protest the killings of three lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur early this week.
Lumad killings and journalist killings have something in common. Last month, two radio broadcaster in Mindanao were gunned down. Lumads and indigenous peoples, who only protect their ancestral lands, are also victims by the reign of impunity intensified by the Aquino administration and its cohorts in the [Armed Forces of the Philippines], said College Editors Guild of the Philippines national president Marc Lino Abila.
The protesters accused a paramilitary group called Mahagat/Bagani supposedly controlled by the military of the killings of the three leaders-Alternative Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development executive director Emerito Samarca, Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) chair Dionel Campos and his cousin Bello Sinzo-on Tuesday in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
The youth groups also allege that the military has been targeting lumad schools and communities and tagging them as members of the New People’s Army. They accuse the military of indiscriminate firing, burning and pillaging villages, and threatening the members of the lumad community.
They also demanded for the military and Aquino’s accountability for other human rights violations.
Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs chief Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato said about 30 protesters joined the rally that lasted for about an hour.
They tried to get inside but our troops were on alert, Detoyato said.
The protesters vandalized the gates of Camp Aguinaldo’s Gate 2 which faced Edsa. Detoyato said about 70 percent of the gate was defaced with paint.
AFP Berdugo! Human rights violator! and Mamamatay tao! were some of the words painted on the gates.
Even media photographers were hit by paint thrown by the protesters. The military tried to disperse the protesters by hosing them with water.
The damage at the gates are minimal. We repaint it every now and then anyway, Detoyato said.
He said an investigation was being done on the lumad killings in Surigao del Sur.
It is their right to hold a protest. But what they did wrong was the damage to property, Detoyato said.
The military has denied involvement in the killings but said an investigation is underway.