Statement of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization on 30 May 2012 Indignation Rally for the arrest of Alde Salusad
“It is almost three months since my husband was killed right in front of our daughter,” said Sharon Liguyon, looking through a worn album where she keeps her deceased husband’s, Jimmy, photos. “If I miss him, I just look at his pictures. He was a good man. He was so much younger than me but when he asked me to marry him, he said he will not let age come between the two of us and promised he would be with me always. But now, he’s gone and the criminals are smugly parading in our community, sure that they will never be convicted.”
Sharon, last month, went around offices in Manila, despite barely knowing a word in Tagalog much less in English, to ask for support for the case of her husband. Her family and 18 other families from Barangay Dao had evacuated after the death of Jimmy Liguyon, threatened by the New Indigenous People’s Army Reform, that they would also be killed.
Resolutions were drafted, letters sent and phone calls made. But nearing the end of this month of May, 15 more families evacuate from Barangay Dao.
Despite the warrant of arrest for Alde Salusad, the leader of the group, released on April 30, the group remains confident that they will never be arrested and has continued to threaten that they would kill more civilians. The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines remain worthless, unable to do anything substantive towards the resolution of the case. This, even with a resolution from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bukidnon, a resolution from the peace and order committee of the provincial unit, and calls of action from religious leaders and international bodies.
Today, indigenous groups and advocates are holding an indignation rally to protest the injustice suffered by the victims of this government-coddled impunity. As the Philippine government is trying to show the international community its advancement in the protection of human rights in its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, we the indigenous peoples, show what really is happening on the ground.
We reiterate that what is happening now with the Liguyon issue is not an isolated case. Over the years, countless of our indigenous brothers and sisters have been killed, tortured and threatened. Last year, we faced a similar killing of our Higaonon brother from Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. Three years ago, three datus were killed. None of these killings have been resolved. All for the same reason – the development that the Philippine government wants which excludes us, the indigenous peoples, the original and rightful inhabitants of our ancestral lands.
The government’s response to our protest against the ravage of our lands is brutal, to say the very obvious. We demand to be respected as dignified beings, not pitted against each other like cocks, one ordered to kill another for a little amount of money. More than our call for respect for our right to our ancestral lands and to self-determination, we demand for our basic right to be recognized as humans and thus treated humanely.
End the impunity in the communities of indigenous peoples! Disband and disarm paramilitary groups! Scrap Executive Order 546! Persecute the human rights violators and give justice to our slain leaders!
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