Group condemns another killing of IPs leader

BAGUIO CITY – KATRIBU Indigenous Peoples Partylist strongly condemns the killing of Gilbert Paborada, an Indigenous Peoples (IPs) leader in Northern Mindanao by two unidentified men riding in tandem on October 3 this year.

Beverly Longid, national president of KATRIBU said, Paborada is the third IPs leader under KALUMBAY who is killed during PNoy’s regime. First she said was Jimmy Liguyon of San Fernando, Bukidnon who was killed by New Indigenous Peoples Army Reform (NIPAR) on March 5 this year.

Second she added was Genesis Ambason of San Luis, Agusan Del Sur who was killed on September 13 this year by elements of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). These IPs leaders she pointed out are also coordinators of KATRIBU Indigenous Peoples Partylist.

She also mentioned that on September 2009, Datu Mampaagi Belayong Esperanza of Agusan del Sur was killed by Bungkatol Liberation Front (BULIF), another paramilitary group.

“The NIPAR, CAFGU and BULIF are paramilitary groups that have a bloody record of human rights violations against IPs,” Longid stressed.

“The killing of Paborada makes more urgent the call of IPs to disband and disarm paramilitary groups especially in indigenous communities. How many killings do we have to suffer?, she added.

Paborada is the chairperson of Pangalasag (indigenous shield), an indigenous community organization which is also a member of Kalumbay, a regional wide alliance of Lumad organization in Northern Mindanao. According to the Quick Response Team (QRT) report, he died on the spot sustaining five gunshot wounds believed to be from a .45 caliber pistol.

The witnesses told the QRT that he just went down from a motorela (public tricycle) in his home in the slum of San Nicholas, Puntod in Cagayan De Oro when the armed men shot him. The other man even approached him and shot him on his head.

Pangalasag had been on the lead in resisting the land grabbing of a giant palm oil corporation, A. Brown in Opol, Misamis Oriental. The said company evicted them away from their lands and replaced their diversified crops with oil palm leaving them in extreme poverty.

During the International Fact Finding Mission (IFFM) hosted by PANGALASAG on May this year, it was found out that the Higaonon tribe of Barangay Tingalan and Bagocboc in Opol is constantly harassed and intimidated by the elements of the aforementioned company. They had been treated as trespassers in their own land.

On the other hand, Paborada since March 2011 had been receiving threats on his life that is why he relocated from Bagocboc to Puntod for security reasons. However, he frequents Bagocboc to lead the community campaigns of PANGALASAG as its chairperson.

“The IPs defense of ancestral lands and the environment now serves as a death warrant. However, government does not extend a hand to give justice to victims of extra-judicial killings and their families. To date, not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice. There appears to be no investigation despite the calls and condemnation of many groups and advocates here and abroad, Longid lamented.

Attacks on IPs Escalate!

The killing of Paborada Longid said adds to various violations of the human rights of IPs in Northern Mindanao. She recalled that on March this year, 37 indigenous members and leaders of the Manobo indigenous people’s organization Maluhutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sumusunod (MAPASU) (Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation) found that there is a warrant of arrest against them. Unknown to them, certain elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) filed trumped up charges against them of rebellion, frustrated murder, arson, illegal possession of firearms and explosives and malicious mischief in connection with an alleged NPA (New People’s Army) attack on the Lianga Police Station on April 29, 2011.

Further, Genasque Enriquez, Secretary General of the Kahugpungan sa mga Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (KASALO Caraga) (Organization of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Caraga) and a nominee of Katribu Indigenous Peoples’ Partylist is also facing charges of murder and multiple frustrated murder filed by elements of the 11th Special Action Company and 75th IBPA. This was in connection with an NPA ambush against these operating elements of the military in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur on July 21, 2012. Incidentally, Genasque was a guest in a local radio show in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte on the same date.

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