Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party condemned the killings of Kapis Butod and Ludenio Monzon in Davao region, saying that the spate of summary executions under the Arroyo administration is ‘state-sponsored.’
On April 14, 2009, Kapis Butod, 20 years old, was killed by military elements in Sitio Milansad, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. He was the son of Datu Subawon Butod, a member of Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon (In defense of ancestral lands).
Last April 29, 2009, Monzon, a Mandaya leader who had been fighting against the encroachment of large-scale mining projects in ancestral domains, was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding men in Boston, Davao Oriental.
The Gabriela solon said that these killings were ‘politically motivated’ considering that both victims were known to be strong defenders of their ancestral lands. “Talaingod and Boston are mining areas with strong military presence justified by Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s call to expand and protect mining activities. The mining sites have been guarded by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sowing fear among the villagers, and suppressing their resistance, especially of the Lumads who own the land,” Ilagan said.
Ilagan recalled the case of Eliezer ‘Boy’ Billanes, an anti-mining activist who was also gunned down by military elements on March 9 this year in Koronadal district, South Cotabato. She said those who actively fight large-scale mining operations and call on their members to uphold their rights have been silenced by summary execution.
Citing the report of the United Nations-backed Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Ilagan also cited that the Philippines has the highest number of internally displaced persons in 2008 due to military operations of the Philippine Army against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
The IDMC reported that 600,000 families, mostly Moro and indigenous people, have been affected by the military support to the so-called development projects in their areas.
“The AFP has been the instrument of the Arroyo administration in intensifying its servility to the interests of the transnational companies who exploit our natural resources. This government has traded our lands at the expense of the lives of the Lumads and the Filipino people,” said Ilagan.
Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan – 0920-9213221)
Lorie Ann Cascaro, Public Information Officer – 0908-9237212