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Multisectoral Ocular Visit in Surigao del Sur

Multisectoral Ocular Visit in Surigao del Sur

August 24, 2016

Summary Report

11 Lumad communities in the municipalities of Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur were visited on August 24 by representatives of different government agencies from the Surigao del Sur local government unit, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH/PHO), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), members of civil society organizations, church people, educators, human rights groups and representatives of local Lumad organizations MAPASU, TRIFPSS and ALCADEV. A total of 268 participants took part in the ocular visit to these areas.

1. Military camps and presence of soldiers were documented in the middle of Km. 9 and in the ALCADEV school grounds in Sitio Han-ayan, Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga, the site of the September 1 Lianga massacre. a. The soldiers refused to be interviewed by the ocular teams, despite the presence of LGU and other government representatives. b. These military camps have been previously documented in the October 26 – 30, 2015 International Fact Finding Mission (IFFM). c. No military presence has been documented in the 9 other Lumad communities that were visited during the ocular visit (Panukmoan, Manluy-a, Km. 15, Emerald, Km. 14, Km. 16, Mike, Kabulohan and Yadawan). d. Since the 2015 IFFM, additional military structure observed during the ocular visit in Hanayan was the new checkpoint installed along the main road beside the Pamana water tub. e. Bullet slugs were found in several locations within Emerald (8 pcs), Km 9 (1 pc), Km 16 (9 pcs) and Han-ayan (10 pcs). Holes from bullet shots were also found in Dionel Campos’ house and Alcadev mini-gym in Han-ayan. These were not present during the 2015 IFFM. f. Houses situated close to where the military encamped were among the worst damaged and looted as observed during the ocular visit.

2. All of the houses have been damaged: a. Ten houses were found burned during the IFFM wherein two (2) of these houses located in the community of Panukmoan and one (1) house in Kabulohan were confirmed on this ocular visit. b. Most of the houses have been ransacked more than once, even those that were left locked by their owners. c. Eight (8) kitchens in three communities (Manluy-a, Simowao, Km. 16, all in Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga) have been newly used, the utensils left unwashed, wood and ash still on the dirty kitchen. Houses and schools including those that were under construction or newly constructed at the time of the evacuation were dismantled, wood, nails, GI sheets, pipes, water hose and even toilet bowls taken and strewn around, used as firewood or taken for unknown purpose. d. All households suffered losses of personal belongings, kitchen utensils, farm tools, store supplies and spare parts of motorcycles, generators and abaca strippers. e. There were newly vandalized houses, the paint still sticky and partially wet. These were in addition to those observed and documented during the IFFM. f. Household gardens and surrounding areas were full of weeds that destroyed the planted vegetables and herbs. g. Apart from those deliberately dismantled, most of the houses have been damaged because of the long period of displacement. 3. Six (6) schools and teachers' cottages were visited by the different teams. All the primary and ALCADEV school buildings and facilities were structurally damaged, school equipment and education materials irreparably destroyed. a. The documented condition of the schools was more damaged to date than the last IFFM in October 2015, even in the schools where military presence was documented. (Note: Col. 1 Isidro Purisima, 402nd Infantry Brigade has consistently justified military presence in the communities to secure the houses, schools and other community facilities). b. School farms and gardens damaged by weeds, decorative hedges in the pathway to the ALCADEV school buildings were newly burned, estimated to have been done within the last 2-3 days prior to the ocular visit. c. New vandalization of school buildings and teachers' cottages were documented during the ocular visit. d. The kitchen walling in the ALCADEV home economics building was gone, while the walling in the Panokmoan school was partially burnt. The Kabulohan students' kiosk and several education materials were totally burnt. These were new indications of burning that were not observed during the October 2015 IFFM. e. One man, all in black, was surprised by ocular participants in one of the teachers’ cottage, who immediately hid upon seeing the members of the team.

4. The water system and electrical connections have been rerouted to the military camp and others destroyed, some deliberately, some because of the long period of displacement. Several water pipes and hose cut from its previous installations in the houses and public water tub were found in the pathway going to the military camp in Km. 9.

5. All the visited farms were overrun by weeds, all farm animals are lost. Some farm machinery such as abaca stripper machines, corn mill, generator, community multicab and motorcycles used for transport were deliberately destroyed by filling fuel tanks with paint, salt and other contaminants and allowed to rust, while several parts were stolen.


1. There is continuing military presence and encampments in the communities and schools in Simowao/Km. 9 and Han-ayan despite the repeated calls for the return to the main camps of all military forces to facilitate the return of these communities to their homes. All the other 9 communities that were visited did not have similar presence nor encampments at the time of the ocular visit. The continuing army presence contradicts the expected back-to-barracks disposition of military forces following the declaration of ceasefire by both GPH and NDFP parties covering August 21-27, 2016 which was supposedly in effect during the time of the ocular visit.

2. Structural damages of houses and community facilities would necessitate rehabilitation assistance to all households and public structures.

3. The damage to farms and agricultural machinery in the visited communities will require comprehensive rehabilitation and assistance to recover its productive state.


1. Investigate and hold accountable the commanding officer responsible for the continuing military presence that hinders the safe return of evacuees to their communities.

2. Immediate rehabilitation upon return should be facilitated based on the findings of the on-site validation that documented the extent of damages and losses, worst on areas where there is continuing military presence.

3. Immediate assistance for the rehabilitation should be provided to community tribal schools existing under the alternative learning system regardless of its non-formal status. Likewise, Lumad children’s Right to Education should be upheld without prejudice to the non-formal status of its tribal community schools.

4. Investigate and hold accountable the commanding officers responsible for the military presence that violated the sanctity of the tribe’s sacred ground and school compound. Enshrined in IHL that schools are recognised as sanctuary and peace-zone, and cultural rights protect sacred grounds, which were undeniably violated by the AFP.

5. The Whole of Nation Initiative (WNI) projects should not be a forced premise for the government’s assistance for the rehabilitation and recovery of communities, livelihoods and schools. The findings of the on-site validation objectively present the extent of damages that necessitates immediate and unconditional assistance that should be provided to the evacuees upon return.

Call to President Rodrigo Duterte

FACILITATE THE IMMEDIATE AND SAFE RETURN OF THE EVACUEES TO THEIR COMMUNITIES. The evacuees will return to their homes as soon as military troops leave their communities. 402nd IBde CO Col. Isidro Purisima insists on maintaining military presence despite the prevailing ceasefire declared by no less than its Commander-in-Chief Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. FACILITATE THE IMMEDIATE REHABILITATION OF COMMUNITIES, SCHOOLS AND LIVELIHOODS UPON RETURN OF THE EVACUEES. The ocular inspection validated the extent of damages and destructions in areas visited, especially in structures and facilities where there is continuing military presence.

Other calls: 1. Pull-out 75th IBPA troops from Caraga especially from Lumad communities! 2. Arrest the bandit paramilitary criminals responsible for the killings of our community leader, Datu and educator! 3. Disband and disarm the bandit paramilitaries and arrest its leaders Calpet Egua, Marcos Bocales and Marcial Belandrez! 4. Relieve and conduct impartial investigation on commanding officers of the AFP responsible for the September 1, 2015 Lianga Massacre, including Col. Isidro Purisima! 5. Hold BS Aquino accountable for all the destructions and crimes against the Lumad people and the Filipino people!

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