Noy meets with lumads, vows to address concerns
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino finally met with lumads at Malacañang yesterday, more than two months after news of indigenous people being killed by military men came out.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed the meeting of Aquino and the lumads, who came all the way from Surigao del Sur.

Concerned Cabinet members also attended the meeting.

“He heard the totality of their concerns and issued directives to come up with concrete action plans to address these, both in the immediate and long-term,” Lacierda said, without giving additional details.

In early September, Aquino assured the public that there was no government campaign to kill lumads or indigenous peoples amid allegations that the military is staging the killings in line with its anti-insurgency campaign.

Militant groups have accused the Armed Forces of executing lumad leaders due to suspicions that they have close ties with the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Military officials, however, denied the allegation and maintained that killing unarmed civilians is inconsistent with their policy.

Calls to make the military accountable for the killings mounted following the deaths of three lumads in Surigao del Sur.

Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, and indigenous peoples’ leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo were killed by armed men last Sept. 1 in Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town.

Activists said the perpetrators belong to a military-backed group called Magahat-Bagani Force.

Security officials denied the existence of such paramilitary unit.              

AGRICULTURAL AND LIVELIHOOD DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVE LEARNING CENTER AQUINO ARMED FORCES BARANGAY DIATAGON COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES CONCERNED CABINET DIONEL CAMPOS AND BELLO SINZO EDWIN LACIERDA EMERITO SAMARCA NBSP
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