Extend all-out support to Lianga exodus amid AFP siege

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins various groups in calling on the broad democratic sectors across the country to extend all possible moral, political and material support to the thousands of Lumad evacuees who have sought safe haven in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, amid the heightening siege by the fascist troops in the area.

The CPP condemns the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for imposing a death grip against the Lumad evacuees of Lianga. The CPP denounces the AFP food, aid and information blockade. All roads leading to the village center are being blocked by AFP troops.

Media agencies are being barred by AFP troops from proceeding to the evacuation site to prevent them from interviewing the evacuees. Aid organizations, including church groups, are being prohibited from bringing rice and other aid.

The AFP has practically taken over the government in the said area. The AFP’s information and aid blockade are grave criminal acts and outright violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Around 1,600 people from various sitios in Barangay Diatagon left their homes a few days ago and marched for several hours to the village center out of fear. For more than a month now, they have been intimidated and terrorized by the presence of hundreds of troops under the 75th IB in their villages. Lumad residents have been subjected to continuous threats and harassments in the hope of compelling them to accept the entry of companies who seek to mine coal within their ancestral domain.

Over the past weeks, several other Lumad communities in other parts of Mindanao have been forced to evacuate as a result of AFP presence in their midst. This include the Higaonon Lumads from Barangay Bantaawan, Gingoog City and from Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental who were forced to evacuate and are currently encamped in Cagayan de Oro City to seek humanitarian support. Moro areas and national minority communities across the country have also been subjected to similar acts of repression as the Duterte regime heighten its drive to take control over their ancestral lands.

The CPP calls on the international community to draw attention to the plight of thousands of evacuees in Mindanao and elsewhere and expose the all out attacks by the military against their communities.