By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Grade six lumad student Obillo Bay-ao, 19, died of gunshot wounds while being treated last night at the Davao Regional Hospital. In a text message from the organizers of Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya now camped out at the UP Diliman, they said the student of Salugpongan Community Learning Center was rushed to the hospital mid-afternoon yesterday after a member of CAFGU in Talaingod, Davao Del Nortehe fired at him.
Bay-ao is the 47th victim of political killings in Southern Mindanao Region. His fellow lumad students have been in the capital weeks ahead of the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya in an effort to save their schools from forced closure by the military and to call for an end to lumad harassment and killing. Also taking up that call is the entire national contingent of the Lakbayan which converged in Manila just less than a week ago. They are pressing the government to lead in respecting their right to self-determination, which they said is what’s being trampled upon everytime their schools are occupied and vilified by the military, and their teachers and students harassed or killed.
In another statement issued yesterday, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao condemned what he calls as the trend of “patay dito, patay doon” (literally killings here, killings there) vs. activists and the youth. He noted that the government troops are all involved in recent reported killings not just of unarmed peasant activists but also of teeners such as the 17-year old Kian Delos Santos in Caloocan City and 19-year old, Carl Angelo Arnaiz.