September 23: Candlelight Vigil to Support Indigenous Communities in the Philippines

On September 1, 2015, Emerito Samarca, the executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), a Lumad school in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, Philippines, was found brutally murdered in a classroom. Meanwhile, Dionel Campos, the chairman of the Lumad community organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU, Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation) and Jovillo Sinzo, the tribal leader of Sitio Kiwagan, Barangay San Isidro, were publicly executed.


These three Lumad leaders’ deaths at the hands of Philippine military and paramilitary groups are only the most recent in a spate of state-sponsored violence against indigenous peoples, bringing the total number of extrajudicial killings to 68 under the administration of incumbent President Benigno Aquino. Since September 1, 2015, approximately 2,700 Lumads have forcibly evacuated their communities in Lianga and other towns of Surigao del Sur due to fear for their safety. Their schools have been shut down indefinitely.


 

The Pilipino Community at U.C. Berkeley will hold a candlelight vigil this Wednesday, September 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. to honor the Lumad victims and increase awareness of the issues of indigenous peoples in the Philippines. The community has raised the following demands:

1) the immediate withdrawal of military and paramilitary groups from Surigao del Sur 

2) an investigation by the United Nations to hold the Aquino administration accountable for its human rights violations 

3) an end to military aid to the Philippines so that U.S. tax dollars are not used for extrajudicial killings.

Members of the community will highlight the importance of Filipino and Philippine Studies at U.C. Berkeley and pressing need for heightened awareness of indigenous peoples' struggles in the Philippines.

For more infromation, please contact Bradley Afroilan (bafroilan@berkeley.edu)

Event details
Date: 
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Location: 
Sproul Plaza, U.C. Berkeley