“For God's anger is being revealed from Heaven against all impiety and against the iniquity of men who through iniquity suppress the truth. God is angry.”—Roman 1: 18
It isn’t enough that we rage about the militarization of our communities. It isn’t enough that we condemn the impunity of paramilitary groups in the ancestral domains of our Lumad brothers and sisters. It isn’t enough to appeal that they stop killing us. They have not and they probably would not.
These beings have lost not only their ears, but also their hearts. The recent cold-blooded murder of Emerito Samarca, the executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), can only be done by someone bereft of his soul. Emerito Samarca, ‘Emok’ to his dear friends, was found stabbed in his stomach, with his feet and hands bound, his throat slit in the morning of September 1 this year. Before his body was found, Dionel Campos, the chairperson of the indigenous peoples’ organization in their community was shot to death, execution style, with his cousin, Bello Sinzo. They had long been accused of running the ALCADEV for the New People’s Army (NPA).
The ALCADEV was an institution that served a lot of poor indigenous families who could not afford to send their students to formal schools. Their only fault is that they taught their students the value of their ancestral lands, that the land is their life.
The Literacy and Numeracy schools run by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region in the provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte have suffered similar attacks. Our parateachers, our students and their parents, accused of being members of the NPA, have been sprayed with bullets, imprisoned for baseless accusations.
What we need to do is to fortify ourselves and make a unified stand. We have to be strong to demand prosecution. We do not simply call for the cessation of their heartless attacks. We seek – we act – for justice. For several years we have been targets of threats, harassments, of killings. We can end the impunity only by showing that we are not weak targets. We are not ready victims.
We are consoled by God’s promise of justice for those who have lived up to righteousness like Emok, Dionel, Bello, and countless others. They are prophets of indigenous right to education. For God is angry, and He will avenge them.
In solidarity with the schools, communities and people of Mindanao under attack, we fight on.
Sr. Ma. Famita N. Somogod, MSM
02 September 2015
[Photo credits: Edge Uyanguren]