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Emerito Samarca

HRD, Director
Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV)

Emerito Samarca was the director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), a self-initiated school for the Lumad indigenous people. The school provides secondary education to members of the indigenous community, supporting the development of their communities and raising awareness of indigenous people. Emerito Samarca had worked for ALCADEV since it was founded in 2004 and became executive director in 2012. On 1 September 2015 Emerito Samarca was killed, allegedly by members of a paramilitary group. He was found dead in one of the classrooms in the school compound in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

The situation of human rights defenders has improved, to an extent, since the end of the Arroyo administration in 2010, but the current government has failed to address continuing violations against HRDs. HRDs still face extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, fabricated charges, arrest, denial of bail, threats and intimidation, and restrictions on their rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. Heavy militarisation in some areas, Mindanao in particular, significantly affects the work of HRDs.

Of serious concern is the persistence of extrajudicial killings and physical attacks against HRDs, nearly all of which are perpetrated with impunity. The Philippines, despite being a party to several international human rights treaties which impose a duty on the state to investigate alleged violations of the right to life, has provided human rights defenders with little or no protection.