UP CURSOR’s Official Statement on the Death of Chad Booc

UP CURSOR’s Official Statement on the Death of Chad Booc

Earlier today, we have received reports that human rights activist and our very own alumnus Chad Booc was killed yesterday, February 24. This was later confirmed by his close friends and family. The AFP once again claims Chad’s death to be a result of an “armed encounter with NPA rebels” [1].

Chad was a BS Computer Science student of UP Diliman. After graduating as cum laude, he chose a path less traveled instead of pursuing a conventional career in the IT industry. He boldly and selflessly went out to serve the indigenous communities as a volunteer mathematics and science teacher for ALCADEV, a Lumad school in Surigao del Sur. Since then, he had devoted his life to serving the people in whatever way he could [2,3].

Last February 2021, Chad – along with other Lumad students, teachers, and elders – was arrested during a violent raid dubbed as a “rescue operation” inside the University of San Carlos – Talamban campus. The police claimed, with no evidence, that the volunteer teachers were training children to be part of the New People’s Army (NPA) despite the University administration denying these accusations. With the Lumad students being part of a bakwit school program where they were learning how to read and write, Chad and six other detainees were released, but only after three months [4].

This instance is just one of the many attacks by the state elements against the Lumad communities. For years, Lumad schools have suffered from aerial bombings, closures, illegal arrests, extrajudicial killings, red-tagging, and other forms of military assaults. Against all these, Chad, alongside other teachers, never gave up their endless struggle to protect the indigenous people and their lands. In a “democratic” society such as ours, it should not be a crime to be indigenous or to defend indigenous people and their rights.

Chad was not only a staunch defender of the rights of the Lumad people. He wholeheartedly immersed himself in marginalized communities to learn from them and serve them to the best of his abilities. His death is a huge loss not only to his family and friends, but to the communities he lived with and the individuals he inspired as well.

Chad was one of the countless activists baselessly red-tagged and helplessly murdered by the military in order to silence the administration’s critics. Even in his death, he was accused of being a member of the NPA. Amid the threats he faced, he persevered in his community endeavors and remained steadfast in the democratic movement.

There has been no official evidence to support that Chad was part of the NPA despite repeated claims by state forces, resulting in his release last year. Contrary to the reports by the military, the CPP-NPA also claimed that no armed encounter took place in New Bataan, Davao de Oro — the area of the supposed encounter between Chad’s group and the military [5]. It should also be noted that the CPP-NPA is also known to publicly honor and acknowledge the death of their members.Thus, there is no reason to believe that Chad’s death was indeed due to an armed encounter between the AFP and the NPA.

As the UP Association of Computer Science Majors, we honor the selfless life of Chad Booc, and remember his heart to fight for the underserved. In light of today’s loss, we condemn the unjust and inhumane killings of Chad Booc, the Lumad volunteer teachers, and all those who sought to defend the marginalized and silenced. We urge media outlets to remain objective in their news reports as they should first and foremost be the ones to stop the spread of misinformation.

With roughly two months away from the National Elections, the Organization strongly encourages everyone to educate themselves on the different stances of the candidates and support a leader who promotes a culture of peace and civil discourse, not one of unjust killings and baseless allegations.

May Chad Booc continue to live through us as we embrace what it genuinely means to be an Iskolar ng Bayan especially on a day where we commemorate the People Power Revolution:

“Higit sa lahat, ang mandato natin bilang iskolar ng bayan ay maisabuhay natin nang buong puso — at ‘yun ay paglingkuran ang sambayanan.“ – Chad Booc (2017)

#JusticeForChadBooc #StopTheKillingsPH

[1] Lumad teacher Chad Booc, 4 others slain in Davao de Oro – military: https://www.rappler.com/…/lumad-teacher-booc-others…/
[2] Who is Chad Booc, the activist arrested in Cebu with the Lumad?: https://www.rappler.com/…/things-to-know-chad-booc…/
[3] From computers to communities – https://up.edu.ph/from-computers-to-communities/
[4] TIMELINE – The plight of the Lumad evacuees in Cebu: https://www.rappler.com/…/timeline-plight-lumad…/
[5] CPP accuses AFP of fabricating ‘encounter’ to cover-up Chad Booc’s death: https://mb.com.ph/…/cpp-accuses-afp-of-fabricating…/
[6] The UP Parser interview with Chad Booc in September 2017: https://www.facebook.com/…/a.10153525…/10155648264621131

Source: UP Association of Computer Science Majors Facebook post