Some may find me posting this as offensive. But I enjoin everyone to look at this photo, however visually unappealing, and try to look beyond what you see.
This is Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Dev’t (ALCADEV) in Han-ayan, Liangga, Surigao del Sur. He was brutally killed inside the school by the elements of the 75th and 36th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Special Forces and bandit-paramilitary group of Calpit Egua, Marcos Bocales and Marcial Belandres. Two more were killed on the same day, Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo, and hundreds more were evacuated due to the havoc caused by the militarization of Lumad communities.
What I see beyond Tay Emok’s lifeless and tortured body is a whole population of indigenous peoples struggling to fight for basic rights and services — health, education and livelihood — being systematically erased by the Philippine government in favor of big profits from large multi-national mining companies taking over the lands of our people — lands that they and their ancestors have nurtured for hundreds of years — to the extent of their own lives being taken away by these greedy, inhumane, monstrous politicians and big landlords and big comprador bourgeoisie.
While we may go about our own usual businesses of looking into our closets to decide on what to wear to office the next day, or checking out what movie to watch this coming weekend, hundreds of Lumads in another island of the Philippines are forced to move from barrio to barrio — for hundreds of kilometers each day — looking for safe havens to keep their families away from the fascist hands of the military operating under the chain of command of the President. All under the guise of Oplan Bayanihan, a “counter-insurgency” program devised to hunt down what they call “terrorists”. Is Tatay Emok a “terrorist”? Are Dionel and Aurelio “terrorists”? Are the Lumads “terrorists”? I’m pretty sure anybody who’s had the chance to meet them would shake their heads in indignation.
This is Tay Emok’s lifeless and tortured body. What do you see beyond the blood?
Image from Rmp CenVis. Caption reads:
EMERITO SAMARCA, Executive Director of the ALTERNATIVE LEARNING CENTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND LIVELIHOOD DEV’T (ALCADEV), DIONEL CAMPOS, Chairman of MAPASU and his cousin BELLO SINZO, were killed by ELEMENTS of the ARMED PARA-MILITARY MAGAHAT/BAGANI FORCES @4am today, Sept 1, 2015 at the ALCADEV compound and km 16, Han-ayan, Brgy Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
The School and community was occupied by elements from 36th IBPA and SF, telling them to evacuate with in 2 days or they will be massacred. Residents are now in KM 16, asking for help.
STOP THE KILLINGS!
DISBAND AND PROSECUTE THE KILLERS!
STOP THE COLLUSION BETWEEN ARMED PARAMIL AND THE AFP!
JUSTICE FOR EMERITO, ONEL AND AURELIO!