DAVAO CITY — The human rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao condemned the killing of a lumad farmer leader in Davao Oriental last week, bringing the count of extrajudicial killings in Davao Region to three in January in just a week’s time.
The latest victim is Christopher Matibay, 43 years old and leader of the Typhoon Pablo survivors group Barug Katawhan in the municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental, who was shot dead last January 18.
Matibay was one of the leaders from Davao Oriental who joined last year’s Manilakbayan ng Mindanao to raise support to Typhoon Pablo survivors neglected by government.
Matibay’s wife recounted the incident took place around 4 pm at Brgy. Lambajon when she was with her husband waiting at a waiting shed when they spotted a motorcycle riding person stopping few meters away from them.
Her husband warned her that the driver was an intelligence officer with alias “Mike” who was tailing him in the past, and told her to go ahead of him.
After taking a few steps, she heard gunshots and saw the “Mike” driving away and her husband already sprawled on the ground, dead with three gunshot wounds in the body.
Karapatan-SMR secretary-general Hanimay Suazo condemned Matibay’s killings, which is the third extrajudicial killing for the month of January in a span of one week.
“With three deaths in a week, this shows that the Aquino regime is hell-bent to attack leaders of progressive groups with legitimate cries against his government’s ineptness,” Suazo said.
Another peasant leader, Ricky Peñaranda from Mati City, was shot dead last January 11. A 15-year old lumad student, Alibando Tingkas from Talaingod was killed by suspected paramilitary Alamara members last January 17.
“From Ricky Peñaranda to Alibando Tingkas and now Christopher Matibay, the killings proliferate. This is happening because of the Aquino regime’s nod to the silencing of people’s leaders, as highlighted in its “Whole of the Nation Initiative” in the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” Suazo added.
Matibay’s participation in the protest caravan played a part in his slay, Suazo said.
“We demand justice for Christopher Matibay, and also to those who went before him for asserting the rights and welfare of Tyhoon Pablo survivors, whom the government had neglected and unjustly demonized as NPA supporters when they decried the lack of support for their plight,” said Suazo.
Matibay is the third member of Barug Katawhan to be gunned down in Baganga, the first being Cristina Jose in 2013, followed by Felix Basig last year.
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO