Statement on the detention of the members of the National Humanitarian Mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte including students and teachers of Lumad schools
30 November 2018
Hong Kong SAR
The Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) raises another alarm as we take stock of what is happening in Davao del Norte, Philippines. Various new reports from the Philippines, including reports from traditional and new media and updates from our friends inside the Philippines have informed us of another human rights disaster in the southern island of Mindanao where Martial Law is hoisted.
On November 28, 2018, members of the paramilitary group called Alamara closed down a school operated by Lumads in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Apparently, the school which provides literacy for Lumad children have been under constant threat from the Armed Forces of the Philippines 51st Infantry Battalion and the paramilitary group Alamara since October of this year.
Fearing for the safety of the children and the community, the teachers and children reportedly evacuated the school and joined human rights defenders proceeding to Talaingod. As the group travelled back to Tagum City, elements of the 51st Infantry Battalion, along with local police, blocked the group and arrested the whole group composing of children, teachers, church personnel and human rights workers, along with lawmakers who visited the area to conduct a solidarity mission. Seventy four people in total were being illegally detained by State forces.
To cover-up the illegal detention perpetrated against the 74 persons, the police filed absurd cases against the supporters of the children and teachers, including lawmakers, with accusations of human trafficking and kidnapping.
The constant harassment of the Lumad schools are threatening the right of Lumad children to education. The filing of trumped-up cases against human rights defenders is an attempt to break down the bridges of solidarity.
We call on the police and the military, including the President of the Philippines to respect and uphold human rights. Democracy and Freedom must be upheld at all times, at all corners of the world, including Mindanao, Philippines.
Free the Talaingod 74!
Mr. Ma Wan-ki
Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of
Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines
c/o ASA, No. 4 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. (852) 98105070, 97585935 Fax. (852) 27354559