I don’t have enemies nor have I hurt anybody. Who else would have the ulterior motive to kill activists? Isn’t it the military?”– Dexter Ian Selebrado, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilpinas organizer
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas assailed the attempted killing of a peasant organizer in Davao del Norte.
Dexter Ian Selebrado, 32, an organizer of peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilpinas, was shot at by motorcycle-riding men at around 4:35 p.m., Sept. 29 along 3rd Avenue, Tagum City. Selebrado had just attended the interprovincial launching of the People’s Initiative Against Pork (PIAP) in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.
The anti-pork barrel signature drive aims to pass a law prohibiting any form of lump sum appropriation in government spending.
Selebrado sustained gunshot wounds on his nape and lower hips. He is currently recuperating in a hospital.
In a statement, Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said Selebrado has been active in exposing the abuses of Alamara, a tribal paramilitary group in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, which serves as a force multiplier for the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the government’s counterinsurgency program.
Suazo said the gunmen are believed to be members of the 10th Infantry Division – Eastern Mindanao Command.
“I can categorically say that I don’t have enemies nor have I hurt anybody. Who else would have the ulterior motive to kill activists? Isn’t it the military?” Selebrado said in a DavaoToday.com report.
Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad of the Eastern Mindanao Command and Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año of 10th ID should be held to account not just for the attempted killing of Selebrado but also for their notorious human rights violations.
Baladad was among the high-ranking military officers who ordered the arrest of the 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal in 2010. Año, on the other hand, is implicated in the disappearance of farmer activist Jonas Burgos in 2007.
Suazo said that Año’s claim that the AFP respects human rights is “a mere stale rhetoric.” She said human rights violations in the region have increased after Año and Baladad were assigned there, both being “famous for their notoriety against activists, like ‘the butcher’ Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.”