Massacre of Lumad in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

On December 3, 2017, just minutes after the village chief of Sitio Bonglaon, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu and his companions left, a hail of bullets came from the hilly side of the community’s day care center.

Instinctively knowing the sound of gunfire, the children stopped playing, and their mothers and their teachers cried out. Everyone heeded the call of Datu Victor Danyan to go to his house for safety. In the corn fields nearby, Pato Siralbo, Samuel Angkoy and Datu Victor’s two sons, Artemio and Victor, Jr. - all members of the all members of the T’boli Manubo Sdaf Claimants Organization (TAMASCO) - fell in the first volley of fire. Datu Victor, attempting to rescue his sons, was himself felled by bullets as soon as he stepped out of his house.

From noon to up to 4:30 in the afternoon intermittent gunfire sought out the Lumad. In the end, eight T’boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers were dead, and five persons, including children, were shot at but survived. The whole of Sitio Bonglanon evacuated to other places, and two Lumad were later arrested on trumped-up charges.

The carnage followed the trials and travails of the Lumad who are defending their ancestral lands from encroachment by big mining corporations through the Integrated Forest Management Agreement in cahoots with the Department of Energy and Natural Resources. The village chief was in the sitio negotiating with Datu Victor to sign another IFMA, and, failing in that attempt, offered to broker Datu Victor’s fake surrender as an NPA member. But Datu Victor’s principled stand to protect their ancestral land remained firm.

The eight Lumad were among the 46 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao documented by Karapatan during the one-year implementation of Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao. The other community members, including children, who survived from the shooting were among the 112 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings in the same period.

#NoToMartialLaw #ResistDuterTyranny



Adina Danyan, sister of Datu Victor Danyan. Photo by Interaksyon