DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A Lumad farmer-activist in Compostela Valley province was gunned down on Wednesday afternoon, according to a local human rights group.
Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan in Southern Mindanao, told DavaoToday that the victim was identified as Federico “Pande” Plaza, a resident of Poblacion, Maragusan, in Compostela Valley province.
Apiag said that Plaza was gunned down at 4 p.m on May 3 by unidentified gunmen believed to be soldiers belonging to an army unit based on the same province.
He added that “Plaza was a staunch critic of intensified militarization in the town and who actively opposed the AFP’s Reengineered Special Operations Teams (RSOT),” a military combat operations conducted in various peasant communities.
Plaza, a village Indigenous Mandatory Representative, was an active partner in various agrarian campaigns of Hugpong sa Mag-Uuma sa Walog Compostela (HUMAWAC) which is the provincial chapter of the peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
Plaza is the 21th case of political killings in the region, according to Karapatan. Last month, Danilo Nadal, also a farmer-activist and a member of Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Pantukan (HUMAPAN), a local farmer’s group in Pantukan town was killed by unknown assailants.
Apiag attributed all these killings to the Armed Forces of the Philippines for targeting farmer-leaders “engaged in active peasant struggles.”
“We strongly condemn this recent killing,” he said. (davaotoday.com)