‘Collective cry for justice’: UPD College of Engineering condemns killing of Chad Booc

March 3, 2022 - 7:20 PM
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This March 3, 2022 photo shows a scene during the wake of slain Lumad teacher Chad Booc. (Save Our Schools Network/Facebook)

A department of the country’s premier university joined the calls for justice for an alumnus who was killed last week.

The military claimed that Chad Booc, a Lumad school teacher, and four alleged rebels were killed in an encounter in New Bataan, Davao de Oro last Thursday, February 24.

However, Save Our Schools Network, a group that supports Lumad schools, countered this and claimed that some locals denied an encounter occurred between the military and supposed members of the New People’s Army that day.

According to reports, Booc, fellow Lumad school teacher Gelejurain “Jurain” Ngujo II, and community health worker Elgyn Balonga were with two other drivers when they were killed.

SOS Network on Thursday posted that the late activist’s family was being surveilled by alleged non-uniformed members of state forces.

Calls for justice

The University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Engineering, Booc’s alma mater, issued a statement of condemnation for the killing of their alumnus on Thursday, March 3.

“We, the UP Diliman College of Engineering (UP COE) community, express our deepest sorrow and indignation on the death of its brilliant alumnus, Chad Errol R. Booc. That it happened in the hands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) makes it highly suspicious,” the college said.

The institution also demanded a thorough investigation into the matter to bring justice to Booc and to four others who died.

“We demand an immediate investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation about the deaths in New Bataan. We call on the Commission on Human Rights, and other independent bodies to conduct parallel investigations to ascertain the truth and give justice to Chad and his companions,” the college said.

“We join their grieving families and friends in a collective cry for justice. We denounce the liars who call them ‘terrorists.’ We pray that all these killings repeatedly happening in our country be stopped immediately,” it added.

Other youth groups have also previously issued statements on social media and also demanded justice for Booc’s death.

This includes the University of the Philippines-Association of Computer Science Majors, the student organization Booc was once a member of.

Booc graduated as a cum laude with a degree in BS Computer Science at UP Diliman.

In 2016, he became a volunteer mathematics teacher for Alcadev, a Lumad school in Surigao del Sur.

He is also a vocal advocate of Lumad rights and human rights.

Following his death last week, the hashtag #JusticeForChadBooc and #JusticeforNewBataan5 trended on Twitter Philippines.

Booc’s followers and other activists denounced their untimely death and called for justice.

“Chad Booc is a volunteer teacher who chose to devote his life serving underserved communities in Mindanao,” health advocate Leonard Javier wrote.

“Chad Booc dedicated his life to educating & empowering lumad communities, and inspiring youth in the process. I am devastated & outraged by his sensenless killing as well as those of his companions,” physician and anthropologist Gideon Lasco said.

“I don’t know him personally either, but he was one of the first politically outspoken people I followed and his online presence had helped shape my understanding when I knew nothing about the struggle. He was, in this way, my teacher too,” one of his Twitter followers said.