A progressive lawmaker branded the recent extrajudicial killings in Davao as ‘state-sponsored.’
In a statement, Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party condemned the killings of indigenous peoples Kapis Butod and Ludenio Monzon.
Butod was killed by suspected military elements on April 14 in Sitio Milansad, Brgy. Palma Gil,Talaingod, Davao del Norte. The victim is the son of Datu Subawon Butod, a member of Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon (In Defense of Ancestral Lands).
Monzon was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding men in Boston, Davao Oriental, April 29. He was a Mandaya leader who had been fighting large mining projects in ancestral domains, said Ilagan.
The Gabriela legislator 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 asserted that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been ‘the instrument of the Arroyo administration in intensifying its servility to the interests of the transnational companies who exploit our natural resources.’
Ilagan said the two victims, like Eliezer “Boy” Billanes, had been actively fighting big scale mining operations.
Billanes, an anti-mining activist, was also gunned down by suspected military elements on March 9 in Koronadal district, South Cotabato.
“This government has traded our lands at the expense of the lives of the Lumads and the Filipino people,” she said.