Criminal mastermind of 2015 Lianga massacre killed in firefight with NPA

One of the masterminds of the brutal Lianga Massacre of 2015 was killed yesterday in an ambush by the New People’s Army in Surigao del Sur against the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani. According to reports, Hawudon Jomar Bucales, along with two other paramilitaries, were killed in a gun battle with the people’s army in Sitio Mamsapranon, Barangay Banahao, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur.

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 et al 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 has been 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. He and his paramilitary group were being misrepresented as “NPA surrenderees” by the 3rd Infantry Battalion in order to funnel funds for counterinsurgency into their pockets. Endorsed by the military, he was appointed by Lianga town officials as its Mandatory IP Representative.

In 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 order to break the people’s resistance to the further aggression of mining operations in their areas.

Criminal mastermind of 2015 Lianga massacre killed in firefight with NPA