DAVAO CITY- A human rights group slammed the killings of a peasant leader in Mati City and a 15-year old lumad student from Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the first cases of extrajudicial killings in Davao region this year.
Ricky Penaranda, chairman of Fisherman Landless Association and member of Indug Kautawan, was gunned down in Dona Rosa, Brgy. Central, Mati City on January 11.
Penaranda had just came from settling a case of a farmer illegally arrested in a land dispute. He was riding a motorcycle when two men riding in tandem shot him at the back. A witness said the gunmen, with their faces covered with caps and handkerchiefs, shouted at him: “Isog jud ka ha! Makiglantugi jud ka!” (“You’re brave eh! You really want to fight!”).
Meanwhile, Alindang Tingkas, a student of the Salugpongan Community Learning Center in Sitio Laslasakan, Talaingod, Davao del Norte, was gunned down by members of the paramilitary Alamara last January 16.
Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Secretary-General Hanimay Suazo condemned these first cases of extra-judicial killings in Southern Mindanao. “We condemn in the highest terms these two killings, as they once again reflect the poor status of human rights in the country,” Suazo said.
Suazo said that the primary motive on the killing of Penaranda was clearly due to his involvement in the helping peasants in their land struggle.
She also criticized the Aquino government for its lack of instituting reforms and protection of the welfare of peasants and other marginalized groups such as the indigenous peoples.
“Apart from the lack of will to protect poor peasants, the Aquino regime is also rife with impunity for extra-judicial killings, particularly against those who stand up for the rights of the oppressed,” she said.
She also condemned the killing of Tingkas by the Alamara, which she said is backed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for pushing its Oplan Bayanihan campaign.
“The continuing support of the AFP to the Alamara grants it impunity and seemingly endless opportunities to terrorize the people. Truly, the AFP’s “Whole of the Nation Initiative” targets civilians and not combatants, as shown in the death of Tingkas. Tingkas’ aspirations for education ran in contrast to the AFP’s interests, who wish that lumad communities would remain uneducated so as to easily allow the entry of mining corporations in lumad ancestral lands.”
Karapatan also blamed Alamara for the killing of a Talaingod Lumad leader, Datu Manlero Landahay last year.
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO