BY JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Posted 4:46 p.m., May 15, 2008
Farmer’s Association in Davao City (FADC) spokesperson Celso Pojas was gunned down by a motorcycle back rider who fired four times and hit the victim three times around 6:30 a.m. today in front of the FADC office in Maa, Davao City.
In a press release, Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, chairman of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and concurrent president of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) said that Pojas was buying cigarette this morning when his officemates heard gunshots. The killers, who were riding an XRM motorcycle, were believed to be agents of the military.
“Ka Celso is the first victim of extra-judicial killing in Davao City and we ask Mayor (Rodrigo) Duterte to help in our call for justice for Ka Celso,” Mariano said. “He was killed in the middle of KMP-Southern Mindanao Region’s campaign against the militarization of peasant and lumad communities in Compostela Valley province and for genuine agrarian reform.”
Mariano believes that Pojas’ death seems to be the opening assault of the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Alexander Yano. KMP-SMR staff members said that Pojas informed them that he was being followed and monitored by the military.
Pojas had campaigned against the militarization of peasant and lumad communities in Compostela Valley province and for genuine agrarian reform. He was recently seen on television speaking in behalf of the family of Datu Doming Diarog, who was allegedly killed by the military.
“He is the 904th victim of extra-judicial killing and the 105th KMP leader killed during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term,” said the peasant leader.
Mariano added that the harassment, killings, arrests, and abductions of their members will not stop them from pursuing their campaign for genuine agrarian reform. “This is our way of honoring their sacrifices,” Mariano said. (Bulatlat.com)