BAGUIO CITY: Indigenous peoples (IPs) have expressed alarm over continuing killings among their ranks, including the death of a farmer in Kalinga allegedly by members of the Army’s 50th Infantry Battalion.
Rei Paulin, of the Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders (IPHRD) Philippines, said the recent victim was Joaquin Cadagcan, who was reportedly shot by a soldier from the 50th Infantry Battalion on July 9 while on his way back to his village coming from a night watch for wild pigs destroying their crops.
Also on July 12, Remar Mayantao, Rogen Suminao and Senon Nacaytuna, all members of Sitio Inalsahan Indigenous People Organization, who have been asserting their right to their ancestral land, were reportedly killed by guards from Tagbani Security Agency.
Tagbani Security Agency, according to Katribu party-list, was hired by RamCar Inc., which is located at the ancestral land of the Higaonon tribe in Barangay Lupiagan, Sumilao, Bukidnon.
On July 15, the Parent-Teacher-Community Association president of Salugpungan school, Hermie Alegre, and tribal chief Danny Diarog were reportedly shot while heading home to Sitio Kahusayan, Barangay Guianga, Tugbok District, Davao City.
Both came from a meeting with officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
Alegre was declared dead at the hospital while Diarog was in critical condition.
Paulin called on the Duterte administration to fully implement the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
While IP groups and advocates expressed high hopes with resumption of peace talks, “true peace can only be achieved if the perpetrators of these inhuman acts are stopped and brought to justice,” Pastor Irma Balaba of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines and convenor of Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples Network (SKIPNet) said.
The IP groups and advocates sought President Rodrigo Duterte’s help on immediate dismissal of trumped-up charges against their leaders, among them Genasque Enriquez, secretary general of Kasalo lumad (indigenous peoples) organization in Caraga region.
The Department of Justice recently dismissed the case of the Haran 15 who accused of “kidnapping and detaining the Lumad refugees” in United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran, Davao City.