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‘Soldiers’ kill mother, injure daughter in Agusan ambush

A week before the start of the new school year, a mother and daughter who just bought school supplies were ambushed by suspected elements of the Philippine Army (PA), killing her and injuring the child.

Gunmen, suspected to be members of the PA’s 25th Infantry Battallion operating in Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley provinces, gunned down Beverly Geronimo, 27, who sustained seven wounds, killing her instantly in Barangay Salvacion, Trento, Agusan del Sur at about noontime Sunday, May 26.

Her eight-year old daughter, an incoming Grade 3 student of the Lumad school Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI), was wounded on her arm.

Geronimo was an active member of the Tabing Guangan Farmers Association (TAGUAFA) and the Parents-Teachers’ Community Association of the MISFI.

The victims as well as two other relatives were on board a motorcycle and on their way home from the town center after buying school supplies for the incoming school year next week.

Two gunmen in civilian clothes stopped them and fired at them, an urgent alert from the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network said.

Since 2009, Geronimo had been harassed, intimidated and coerced by Philippine Army soldiers for her opposition to large scale mining activities by OZ Metals and Agusan Petroleum, SOS said.

MISFI is a network of Lumad Schools suffering attacks from the military that accused them of being symphatetic to the New People’s Army.

Barug Katungod, an alliance of human rights workers in Mindanao, said that as of February 2018, five Lumad have been victims of extra-judicial killings in Mindanao, two coming from Agusan Del Sur.

A total of nine battalions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are deployed in the Northeastern Mindanao Region.

Due to intense military operations and aerial strikes, about 3,247 individuals have been forced to evacuate, Barug Katungod added.

In Manila, Amihan or the National Federation of Peasant Women, condemned the brutal killing.

Quoting Karapatan data, Amihan said that of the 125 farmer victims of extrajudicial killings under the Rodrigo Duterte government, Geronimo became the 21st peasant women victim.

Five children, five elderly and five farmer couples were included in the list, Amihan added.

The PA has yet to issue a statement about the ambush.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Sandugo blames Duterte on death of 19 year old Lumad student

National minority groups camped out at the University of the Philippines in Diliman blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for the death of a Lumad teenager in Davao del Norte Tuesday.

In a press conference on their sixth day in Metro Manila, Sandugo (Movement of Moros and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination) said the killing of LUmad youth Obillo Bay-ao, 19, by a paramilitary trooper is on Duterte’s hand.

“We mark Obillo Bay-ao’s death with rage. It is another testimony to the mounting crimes of the US-Duterte regime against the national minorities,” Datu Jerome Succor Aba, Suara Bangsamoro chairperson and Sandugo co-chairperson said.

Bay-ao died Tuesday evening at the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City eight hours after being shot dead by a certain Ben Salangani of the Armed Forces of the Philippines auxiliary group Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit.

The victim was a grade six pupil of Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center in Sitio Dulyan, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte.

Sandugo said it holds the Duterte regime accountable for the escalation of attacks against the national minorities as part of its all-out war and counterinsurgency policies and martial law declaration.

“The national minorities—the Moro and indigenous peoples—are the hardest hit by Duterte’s martial law and all-out war,” it said during the press conference.

Sandugo said there are at least 29 documented victims of extrajudicial killings among the national minorities from June 2016 to June 2017, excluding those killed in the Marawi siege.

“Our people are being killed, harassed, and almost wiped out by state attacks,” Sandugo said.

The Sandugo second assembly at the camp out Tuesday indicted the Duterte for “the intensifying fascist attacks against the national minorities and the worsening land-grabbing and plunder of resources in ancestral lands and territories, which may now lead to ethnocide.”

“The President—who earlier recognized and promised to correct the hundreds of years of injustice against  the national minorities—now embodies national oppression, which has caused the injustices to and oppression of the national minorities,” the assembly declaration said.

Some 2,500 national minorities from the Cordilleras, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mindoro, Quezon, Rizal, Palawan, Panay and the island of Mindanao are in Metro Manila for the assembly and Lakbayan. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured image by Alcadev)