DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Another activist was killed this time in Quezon town, Bukidnon.

Higala sa Lumad (Friends of the Lumad) Network reported Friday night that Renato Anglao, 42 was shot by three unidentified men riding in tandem in Crossing Busco, Quezon town.

Anglao is an active member of the Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (TINDOGA), an indigenous peoples’ organization of the Manobo-Pulangion in Barangay Botong, Quezon which opposes plantation in their ancestral land. The group is also accused of supporting the New People’s Army.

The group said Anglao was on his way back home with his wife and child after buying school supplies at the town center when the men drove to their side and shot him twice in the head.

“The hitman after killing Anglao, alighted their motorcycle, with his gun still at hand and began heading toward Anglao and his wife and child. But since people already started to gather around the scene, the hitman backed off, rode back on the motorcycle and sped off in the direction going to BUSCO,” the group said.

“They had won back their ancestral land and had secured its title two years ago, despite the moves of Rancho Montalvan owned by Maramag Vice Mayor Pablo Lorenzo, to introduce a plantation in it,” it added.

Anglao is the fifth victim of political killing since the start of the year, according to human rights group Karapatan.

From August 21, 2016 to January 31, 2017, during the GRP unilateral ceasefire period, Karapatan documented fourteen (14) victims of political killings, at least 439 illegal arrests.

Anglao is also the third Lumad leader killed this year. The first two were Venie Diamante, a T’boli and municipal tribal chieftain killed in Koronadal City on January 5; and Veronico Delamante, a Mamanwa and regional coordinator of Katribu Partylist in Caraga who was killed in January 20.

The other two victims were farmers Alexander Ceballos and Wencislao Pacquiao. Ceballos is the regional council member of the National Federation of Sugar Workers killed on January 20 in Murcia town, Negros Occidental while Pacquiao, a member of San Benito Farmers Association, an affiliate of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas was killed on January 25.

Meanwhile, two other civilians were killed in Manay town, Davao Oriental after the clash between the New People’s Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Both armed groups blamed each other for the death of the two farmers.

The number rises even as the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is ongoing.

An NPA fighter in Makilala town was killed in a military operation on January 21 while the Army also suffered casualties including a junior officer in Manay town.

The Army also reported the killing of three soldiers in Malaybalay City.

The Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army has declared the termination of its unilateral ceasefire effective on February 10, while President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the government’s unilateral ceasefire effective Friday night.

The Exodus for Justice and Peace called on the government and the National Democratic Front to continue the peace negotiations.

“We value the peace process between the GPH and the NDF as it strives to address the root cause of the near five-decades long armed conflict. In the latest round of talks in Rome, we welcome the unity and complementary roles of both panels to lay the ground for the agenda of socio-economic reforms under CASER,” said Bishop Hamuel Tequis, EJP convener.

“We hope both parties continue to pursue the substantive agenda of peace talks that is the socio-economic reforms, and meeting this requirement along with the release of political prisoners which can build a stronger grounds for the call of ceasefire,” said Tequis. (davaotoday.com)

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