Philippines: Paramilitary leader behind Lianga massacre killed in gun battle with New People’s Army
One of the masterminds of the brutal Lianga Massacre of 2015 was killed October 4 in an ambush by the Communist-led New People's Army (NPA) in Surigao del Sur against the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani.
According to reports, Hawudon Jomar Bucales and with two other paramilitaries were killed in a firefight with the people's army in Sitio Mamsapranon, Barangay Banahao, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur.
According to Marco L. Valbuena, chief information officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, “The NPA unit in Surigao del Sur deserves the highest commendation. The Party and the Filipino people congratulate them for their success. The broad masses of Lianga celebrate the successful NPA ambush. They feel a deep sense of justice with the death of Bucales.”
A people's court in Surigao del Sur had previously been formed to try Bucales and others for the Lianga Massacre. Investigations conducted by the duly-constituted committees have pointed out to the key role of Bucales and the others in the brutal murder of Emerito Samarca, executive director of the ALCADEV community school, and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo on September 1, 2015. Bucales was informed of the charges against him but ignored the summons and refused to stand trial before the people's court.
Bucales was leader of the so-called Magahat-Bagani paramilitary group in the Surigao del Sur and received guns, funding and publicity support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and mining companies operating in the area.
On behalf of the military, Bucales has recently been issuing renewed threats against the leaders of the ALCADEV community school, which has been active in promoting and defending the Lumad people's ancestral lands and raising their community's social, economic and cultural life.
Lianga and other towns in Surigao del Sur are located in the Andap Valley, an area rich in mineral resources. In recent months, the people of Lianga have been subjected to intense militarization, aerial bombings and gross human rights abuses, in an attempt to break the people's resistance to the further aggression of mining operations in their areas.