Massacre of Indigenous Tumandok

29. January 2021 | Human Rights News, Internal Affairs

Police and military joined forces on 30th December and killed nine leaders of the indigenous Tumandok in the provinces Capiz and Iloilo. Sixteen others were arrested. The police justified the killings by stating the victims were resisting against the search and arrest warrants. The National Union of People’s Lawyers of Panay (NUPL-Panay) is decrying this statement publically: “Neither a search warrant nor a warrant of arrest is a license to commit murder. There is no presumption of regularity when people end up dead as a result of the implementation of such warrants.” The search warrants were issued due to alleged posession of firearms and explosives. Relatives of the detained Tumandok state that the suspects were unarmed, the suspects were tortured and that the law enforcers planted the firearms allegedly recovered inside their homes. The Makabayan block states that the nine killed Tumandok leaders were known activists who were fighting against militarisation, land grabbing and the contruction of the dam in Calinong. For these reasons, they were red-tagged by the military, prior to the series of arrests and killings,” the progressive lawmakers said. Many groups are condemning the police operation. Eight bishops from Western Visayas and Romblon are decrying the incident vigorously. The German NGO philippinenbüro published an article that gives a deep insight in the living conditions of the Indigenous People Tumandok, describes the brutality that are subject too, not inly since the massacre in December and the permanent threat to the rights to their ancestral land trough a large hydropower project. The realization of the project, which is supported by the Philippines Government and financed by foreign investors, would flood their communities.

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