Justice For Tumandok Massacre
The recent massacre of nine Indigenous Tumandok and the illegal arrest of 17 others in Capiz province in the Philippines two days before 2020 ends warrant our strongest condemnation!
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and Katribu National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines strongly denounce this new spate of mass murder of leaders of indigenous group TUMANDUK in a time when the world just observed the International Human Rights Day. We call for justice for all victims of Tumandok Massacre – TUMANDUK heads Eliseo Gayas Jr. and Roy Giganto, as well as Mauro Diaz, Arcelito Katipunan Sr., Mario Aguirre, Jomer Vidal, Dalson Catamin, Reynaldo Katipunan and one more unnamed victim. Seventeen of the arrested IP, including TUMANDUK leaders and senior citizens, are yet to be surfaced.
On December 30, at 4:00 in the morning, the combined forces of the 12th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) entered the houses of sleeping Tumandok villages to serve warrants. According to witnesses, Gayas was shot after being ordered to go out of his house, while Aguirre and Giganto were shot dead while sleeping in the presence of their families.
Many of those murdered and arrested are also known public servants — Roy Giganto, Mario Aguirre and Katipunan served as village councilors, village captains and Marivic Aguirre, a municipal employee. We demand the immediate release of the other 17 indigenous Tumandok illegally arrested. Those arrested include former TUMADUK chair Marivic Aguirre who was seen abducted via military helicopter. Eight of those arrested remain illegally detained and some still missing.
TUMANDUK, an alliance of 17 indigenous peoples communities in the province of Capiz and Iloilo in Panay island, have been active against the militarization of their ancestral lands by the Philippine Army. They also lead the resistance against the Jalaur Mega Dam project that will submerge their lands, impact the environment, and displace Tumandok families.
Endangering their lives further, TUMANDUK and its leaders have been vilified, harassed, and terrorist-tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as front organizations and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed group New People’s Army (NPA). Duterte regime’s IP centric counterinsurgency campaign and the Anti-Terrorism Act empower bloodthirsty warmongers soldiers and police to kill IP rights activists with impunity. Together with his “war on drugs”, the international community has called out these bloody modus operandi targeting activists and voices critical to the government’s repressive laws and policies.
The Philippine government, it’s military and police forces must be held accountable for this brutal massacre on indigenous Tumandok who have braved State terror and corporate powers in defense of their ancestral lands, protecting the environment, and preserving their ways of life. Their blood is in President Duterte’s hands, as the commander-in-chief, for enabling gruesome killings and perpetuating a climate of impunity.
We say enough of these attacks! We call on for a swift and independent investigation of the massacre of Tumandok villagers, and all the killings perpetrated by the State. We call on our members, and the international community to join us in calling for justice and accountability as we rise to topple all murderous and oppressive regimes.
Global Coordinator IPMSDL, Katribu International Officer