DAVAO CITY, Philippines – On the last day of Women’s Month, a women peasant leader was killed in Surigao del Sur province, Caraga region.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reported on Tuesday, that 66-year old Nora Apique was gunned down on her way home in Barangay Patong, San Miguel town, Surigao del Sur at around 7 pm by unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle.
Apique was a member of its provincial chapter, Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Surigao del Sur since the 1980s. She was also a member of the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC); chairperson of the Municipal ARC; and a member of the Provincial ARC since 2016.
The peasant leader was one of the contingents of KMP Caraga’s caravan to Manila in 2017 that demanded free irrigation services and agrarian reform for farmers.
Prior to the incident, human rights group Karapatan Caraga said Apique has been receiving threats and red-tagging from the military and paramilitary groups.
Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Cullamat, who is from Surigao del Sur, condemned the killing of Apique, claiming these elements of the military have a hand in the farmer-leaders murder.
“Even if there’s no Martial Law in Mindanao, they continued to violate basic human rights,” Cullamat said.
KMP said there are now 249 farmers killed under the Duterte administration. In this number, Apique is the 35th peasant woman killed, according to Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women.
In a statement, Amihan chairperson Zenaida Soriano said, “Apique’s killing shows that military operations continue despite the crisis the country is facing and the ‘preventive community quarantine’ being implemented in the province.”
“We can only blame Duterte’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapanatagan and Executive Order 70 or the formation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) for the continuing atrocities and human rights abuses against farmers and human rights defenders despite the COVID-19 pandemic and amid the impact of lockdown,” Soriano added. (davaotoday.com)