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Lumad leader, farmer-activist killed in their homes

By KEN E. CAGULA / Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A Lumad leader and a farmer-activist were gunned down in separate incidents in the province of Bukidnon.

On July 8, Datu Mario Agsab was shot dead in his home at Sitio Mainaga, Brgy. Iba, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon at around 7am by suspected members of paramilitary group Alamara and CAFGU members under the 8th Infantry Batallion.

According to Karapatan-Bukidnon, Agsab was an active leader of PIGYAYUNGA-AN, a local chapter of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.

Two days earlier, the group also reported a similar shooting incident which targeted a member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Karapatan said that farmer Joel Anino was shot in his home in San Fernando town, Bukidnon by unidentified gunmen around 6:30am last July 6. He later died at the Malaybalay General Hospital.

Anino is the second member of KASAMA-Bukidnon killed this year.

Last June 16, 57-year-old farmer Liovigildo “Nonoy” Palma, also a member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, was killed by three suspects riding a single motorcycle just right outside his house at Barangay Halapitan, Sitio Malambago, San Fernando.

Datu Wilson Anglao Jr., secretary general of Karapatan-Bukidnon, condemned the growing number of killings in the province.

The group has already documented nine incidents of extrajudicial killings in Bukidnon in the middle of 2019.

Anglao attributed these killings to the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, which is expected to last until the end of this year.

“The [State] wants to silence anyone – especially the farmers here in Bukidnon – who is strongly calling for genuine agrarian reform in the country,” Anglao said.

Anglao said that they will bring these cases to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region 10 to urge them to look into the human rights situation in the province. #

NUJP condemns Army’s attempt to bar reporter from covering Marawi protest

Indeed, it is for those in authority, particularly the armed services, to observe proper decorum as any misstep could result in grievous harm not only to journalists but to all other citizens of this land.

March 31, 2018

We have long been under the impression that Colonel Romeo Brawner was one of those who fit the definition of an “officer and gentleman.”

Regretfully, he has just disabused us with his non-sequitur on the attempted eviction of journalist and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) member Kath Cortez from covering the March 30 protest of Marawi residents seeking to return to their homes inside the shattered city’s main battle area by an Army officer who also sought to have our colleague’s identification documents and equipment confiscated.

In a statement, Brawner, the deputy commander of Joint Task Force Marawi, tried to justify the officer’s action as having been “influenced by the fact that leftist and non-Muslim organizations attempted to infiltrate the ranks of the legitimate Maranao internally displaced persons (IDPs) reportedly to agitate the peace-loving rallyists to become aggressive and even violent.”

We are sure our Meranaw brethren who participated in the protest can and will respond to Brawner’s claims.

But even if the good colonel’s allegation of “infiltration” were true, how does it explain the officer’s clear reaction to seeing Cortez’s ID?

“Uy, taga-Davao. Kumpiskahin ang ID! Kumpiskahin ang camera! Palabasin ‘yan ng Marawi!”

(Hey, she’s from Davao! Confiscate her ID! Confiscate her camera! Get her out of Marawi!)

This, to our mind, had nothing to do with any imagined infiltration or instigation and everything to do with a deliberate effort to prevent Cortez from covering a public event of national significance, even to the point of physically booting her out of Marawi.

That Brawner links this incident to his theory of infiltration is misguided at best and, worse, could actually endanger our colleagues by implying that security forces’ suspicions are enough reason for them to suppress journalists from coverage and/or subject them to clearly unconstitutional acts like confiscation of their property and arbitrary eviction, which not even martial law justifies.

Nevertheless, we welcome Brawner’s assurance that the 103rd Brigade “is now investigating this incident and will remind all army personnel in Marawi, of the proper decorum during events such as this.”

Indeed, it is for those in authority, particularly the armed services, to observe proper decorum as any misstep could result in grievous harm not only to journalists but to all other citizens of this land.

ALERT: Journalist barred from covering Marawi residents’ returning to their homes

March 30, 2018

A journalist covering the return of Marawi folk to ground zero was barred from entering the war-torn city on Friday.

An unidentified officer of the 103rd Brigade of the Philippine Army (PA) barred Davao Today and Kilab Multimedia reporter Kath M. Cortez from covering the rally that marked the return of Marawi City residents to their homes.

While taking photos of the protesters at the PA-Philippine National Police blockade at the city’s Rapitan Bridge, the officer saw Cortez’s media ID and reportedly shouted: “’Uy, taga-Davao. Kumpiskahin ang ID! Kumpiskahin ang camera! Palabasin ‘yan ng Marawi!”

(Hey, she’s from Davao! Confiscate her ID! Confiscate her camera! Get her out of Marawi!)

Before soldiers could carry out the order, Cortez had safely retreated at the back of rally where she was joined by fellow journalists from Davao City.

While covering the rally’s program, which was about to end, a military again approached and told her to get out of the city.

Cortez and her fellow journalists from Davao have safely gotten out of the city as of posting time.

–NUJP Media Safety Office