The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women vehemently condemns the massacre of 5 civilians, including 2 volunteer teachers, a community health worker and two accompanying drivers, carried out by state forces last February 24, 2022 in Davao del Oro (formerly known as Compostela Valley). The peasant women group joins various sectors in calling for an immediate and impartial investigation into the incident, as well as justice for the victims.

“We express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families and friends. The loss of teachers Chad Booc and Jurain Ngujo are especially heavy losses,” said Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano. “Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines has stolen the futures of young, volunteer teachers, and the Lumad children they teach. It is not enough for them to inflict human rights violations and drive indigenous communities out of their homes. By closing down countless Lumad schools, and by murdering selfless volunteer teachers, they deprive children of their right to education.”

Save Our Schools Network (SOS) Network reported that Chad Booc and Jurain Ngujo ll, volunteer teachers for the Lumad schools in Mindanao, were among those killed. Chad was among the Bakwit 7 who were arrested last year on false charges of human trafficking and kidnapping, which were dismissed. The Network also noted that Booc had faced numerous death threats, and had been targeted in particular for visibly speaking out against militarization, displacement from ancestral lands, and the closure of Lumad schools.

Locals in Brgy. Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro confirmed that no encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New People’s Army had transpired in the area. This is despite the AFP’s claims that the incident was an encounter, accusing the victims of being armed combatants. The 1001st Infantry Brigade of the AFP even went so far as to showcase the bodies of the deceased as war trophies, planting guns and ammunition on the bodies to make it out as if they were combatants.

“We cannot let Duterte and the AFP get away with their lies and shameless attempts to twist the narrative. Call it what it really is— a massacre of innocent civilians, a tragic example of state terrorism. We will continue to demand justice for the New Bataan 5— for Chad, for Jurain, and the Lumad communities they worked tirelessly to serve,” Soriano ended###

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