QUEZON CITY, Philippines — A leader of a farmers’ group based in Compostela Valley, province was shot by an unknown assailant on Monday, Oct. 10.
Jimmy Saypan, secretary general of the Compostela Farmers Association (CFA), a local affiliate of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, was shot in between 5 a.m to 6 a.m in Barangay New Visayas in Montevista town, Compostela Valley by alleged state security forces coming from the Army’s 66th Infantry Batallion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Saypan, 48, is a Mandaya farmer of Barangay Ngan, Compostela, Comval Province. Saypan is now recuperating in a hospital at Tagum City, Davao del Norte and is believed to be in critical condition.
“It is outrageous that this happened while we are celebrating peasant and indigenous month this October, to a peasant and a lumad like Jimmy Saypan who defended his farmland and ancestral land,” CFA said in a statement Monday.
According to the farmers’ group, Saypan is one of the leaders who accused the 66th IB for their alleged human rights violations.
For CFA, the act of shooting Saypan was an attempt to “silence” him as he relentlessly led a campaign for the pull-out of military troops encamped in schools and civilian communities in Compostela town.
“For the past days, (he participated in the) series of lobbying and confrontation calling for the immediate pull out of troops of the 66th IB who are camping at the school in communities in Compostela,” the group said.
“He is also one of the leaders who opposed the entry of the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (AgPet), a mining company that is currently exploring even though its exploration permit was already expired,” the CFA told DavaoToday.
Prior to Monday’s shooting incident, the group recalled similar incident in 2015 when the military strafed the house of CFA Chairman Bello Tindasan.
“It is also ironic that as the new administration is forwarding peace efforts, the AFP officials and personnel in the ground remain to be rabid butchers. We call on the Duterte administration’s sincerity towards peace to pull-out the 66th IB in our communities and hold them accountable on their rights abuses in Compostela Valley,” CFA added. (davaotoday.com)