Karapatan to Duterte: Junk US-Aquino Regime's Oplan Bayanihan

"Political killings continue as three Lumad farmers were massacred, Bagobo leaders ambushed, and an Igorot hunter shot,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general reported the first cases of political killings documented under the Duterte administration.  On July 9, 2016, Joaquin Cadacgan, a native of the Mabaka and Mangali tribes in Tanugan, Kalinga, was on his way back to his village at 3:00AM to 4:00AM after he was on watch for wild pigs that frequently destroys their crops.

Cadacgan met Philippine Army troopers walking along the road towards Lower Tanudan. He first met two army soldiers of the 50th Infantry Battalion who were ahead of the rest of the troopers who walked passed him and went their separate ways. But the third soldier that came just shot Cadacgan. The victim died on the spot.

The army’s excuse was Cadagcan was carrying an M16 rifle, which he normally uses for hunting. Later, the army troopers talked to the relatives and elders of Mabaka and offered to settle the incident.

On July 12, Remar Mayantao, Rogen Suminao and Senon Nacaytuna, all members of Sitio Inalsahan Indigenous People Organization, were killed by guards from Tagbani Security Agency, “for asserting their right to their ancestral land,” Palabay said. Tagbani Security Agency was hired by RamCar Inc. which is currently occupying the ancestral land of the Higaonon tribe in Barangay Lupiagan, Sumilao, Bukidnon. Landlords Ramon and Carmen Agustines own RamCar Inc. 

Thirteen (13) security guards employed by RAMCAR Inc. surrounded the makeshift tents put up by Higaonons in Sitio Inalsahan.

Mayantao, a council member of the Sitio Inalsahan Indigenous People Organization, was already raising his arms in surrender when the guards shot him and hit his right abdomen. As if this wasn’t enough, one security guard pulled out a knife and slit Mayantao’s throat. Nacaytuna, was shot in the chest when he attempted to run but tripped and fell.

“According to witnesses, Nacaytuna was holding a weeding bolo because the group was on their way to farm. The guards replaced the bolo and placed a .38 calibre gun in Nacaytuna’s hands. Suminao, was shot on the left side of his cheek and on his forehead,” Palabay said.

Salugpungan school president of Parent-Teacher-Community Association Hermie Alegre and tribal chieftain, Danny Diarog were shot on July 15 as they were heading home to Sitio Kahusayan, Brgy. Guianga, Tugbok District, Davao City. Both came from a meeting with officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Alegre was declared dead on arrival while Diarog is in critical condition.

“The US-driven counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan of BS Aquino has cost the lives of many Filipinos including our indigenous peoples. Thousands were victimized through killings, enforced disappearances, school occupation and forced evacuations,” Palabay said. “With the recent political killings, Pres. Duterte should junk Oplan Bayanihan and put a stop to political killings,” Palabay concluded.