DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Farmer’s organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) condemned the killing of its member in the Bukidnon province over the weekend.
KMP-Northern Mindanao Region identified the victim as 57-year-old Liovigildo “Nonoy” Palma, an active member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, which is an affiliate of KMP in the province.
Three suspects riding in a single motorcycle gunned down Palma right outside his house at Barangay Halapitan, Sitio Malambago, in San Fernando town, Bukidnon province on Saturday morning, June 16.
KMP said witnesses identified one of the gunmen as a member of the paramilitary group, Alamara.
Ricardo Guinanao, chairperson of KASAMA-Bukidnon told Davao Today in a phone interview that Palma sustained two gunshot wounds in the head and another two in the stomach that resulted in his immediate death.
“Nonoy had recently joined the Independence Day protest, as well as a dialogue with the provincial government for the assistance to the farmers who were affected by the dry spell in our province,” Guinanao said.
The group of Palma strongly believed the killing was part of the crackdown of organizations critical to the government and continued implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.
Guinanao said that their organization has been experiencing relentless attacks, such as filing of “trumped-up charges” against its members and accusing them as a “communist front.”
Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan noted that the killing of Palma took place a day after the slaying of two human rights workers in the province of Sorsogon.
On June 15, Ryan Hubilla, 22, and Nelly Bagasala, 69, both staff members of Karapatan-Sorsogon were killed on the spot by two gunmen at Phase 2, Seabreeze Subdivision, Brgy. Cabid-an, Sorsogon City, Sorsogon.
The perpetrators, who were onboard a motorcycle, approached the two victims as they were paying their tricycle fare, and shot them to death.
Karaptan said the military was conducting thorough surveillance of the two human rights workers prior to the incident.
“We have every reason to believe that those who killed Hubilla, Bagasala, and Palma are the death squads of the Duterte administration in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said in a statement.
“They were killed because they are staunch human rights defenders who dare expose the current government’s transgressions on the rights and welfare of the people. They are seen as impediments to this murderous government’s reign of terror in rural areas,” she added.
Karapatan has also reported about the killing of former Bayan Muna Bicol regional coordinator Neptali Morada on Monday morning.
In light of attacks on human rights defenders in the country, at least 11 UN human rights experts have recently issued a joint statement on June 7 asking the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into the rising cases of rights violations in the Philippines.
The Human Rights Council is referred to the body composed of 47 UN Member States elected by the UN General Assembly.
“We are extremely concerned over the high numbers of killings which are being carried out across the country in an apparent climate of official, institutional impunity,” the experts said in their statement. (davaotoday.com)