ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the assassination yesterday of a Lumad school leader and wounding of a tribal chief. They call on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to immediately investigate the attack and hold the perpetrators accountable.
Per reports of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, motorcycle-riding gunmen killed Hermie Alegre and critically wounded Danny Diarog in Sitio Kahusayan, Davao City at around 2 p.m. Friday. They were on their way home from a meeting with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
Alegre was an officer of the Parents-Teachers Association of the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land) Community Learning Center (STTICLC) in the sitio while Diarog is the chieftain of the Bagobo tribe there.
“This attack is as despicable as it is cowardly, ” said Tinio. “Through underhanded ways, these perpetrators kill and maim Lumad leaders like Alegre and Diarog who stand with their people in their struggle for land and self-determination. By attacking their leaders, they aim to incapacitate our Lumad brothers and sisters who only want to serve their communities and live according to their own ways, with their ancestral land and resources.”
Castro stressed the welfare of the children, saying that schools like those of the Salugpungan are put up and maintained by indigenous communities
themselves to fill in the lack of public schools in their areas. “Attacks such as this threaten the right of Lumad children to education and a peaceful life. Lumad school and community leaders being targeted by the military, paramilitaries, and private armies mean that indigenous learning and the Lumad way of life is also under attack.”
Tinio and Castro cited similar threats such as the public maligning and the recent issuance of a warrant of arrest by a Davao court against the “Haran 15,” who are pinned for assisting in 2014 hundreds of Lumad evacuees, including teachers and students of Salugpungan and other mission schools, fleeing from the military encamped in their communities.
“We urge President Duterte to immediately address these latest attacks against the Lumad.”