PHILIPPINES: Indigenous leader opposing mining murdered

Posted on | mei 4, 2012 | No Comments

Mr. Benigno Aquino III, President Republic of the Philippines

Dear Mr. Benigno Aquino III ,

Name of the victim: Jimmy Liguyon, 37 years old, married with 5 children,Vice chair of the indigenous peoples’ group KASILO Lumad, belonging to the Matigsalog tribe, Barangay (village) chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon
Alleged Perpetrators:
1.Alde Salusad a.k.a. Butsoy, Member of Tribal Reform Indigenous Organising in Mindanao (TRIOM) Force together with 15 armed men suspected to be members of the TRIOM Force,
2. Ben Salusad a.k.a Nonong, father of Alde Salusad, and a rebel returnee who is associated with the 8th IB under the command of Lt. Fallar.
Names of village officials alleged to have involved in conspiracies with alleged perpetrators:
Medy Mancilla
Merlyn Isidro
Fausto Bacliran
Date of and place of incident: 5 March 2012 at 6:30pm in Purok 2, Dao, San Fernando, province of Bukidnon

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News.com. I am writing to draw your attention to the case of Jimmy M. Liguyon, a leader of indigenous people in Bukidnon who was known in his advocacy on anti-mining activities in their village. On 5 March 2012 at 6:30 pm, Jimmy Liguyon, who was also the barangay (village) chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon, he was shot dead inside his residence by paramilitary man Alde Salusad a.k.a. Butsoy, using an Armalite rifle. Salusad is a member of the paramilitary group Tribal Reform Indigenous Organising in Mindanao (TRIOM) Force reportedly created by Vice Mayor Levy Edma and backed by Lt. Fallar of 8th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army based at Halapitan, San Fernando Bukidnon.

Emelio and Arser Liguyon, brothers of the victim, narrated that at 5:30pm, they went to Jimmy’s house to borrow money and rice for family consumption as well as for supplies for their livelihood.

I am deeply concerned about the killing of Jimmy Liguyon which was witness by his brothers’ Emelio and Aser. They recounted that they were talking with Jimmy at the terrace of his house when Salusad arrived accompanied by 15 armed men in military uniform. Salusad walked in without permission.

When Salusad was about one meter away from Jimmy, he asked the victim about the presence of the military in the area. Jimmy replied that he did not notice soldiers roving the area. Salusad then ordered Jimmy to transfer to the opposite bench. Jimmy obeyed and stood up. Salusad pretended to offer his hand to shake Jimmy’s, then, without a word, shot him with his mini-armalite rifle, hitting the latter in the chest and killing him instantly.

Terrified by the incident, Emelio and Aser ran in separate directions.

Salusad was heard saying: “Akong gipatay si kapitan tungod kay wala kini mipirma sa SANMATRIDA or (the San Fernando Tribal Datus Association) o wala mohatag og certification sa SANMATRIDA” (I killed the captain village chief) because he wouldn’t sign the SANMATRIDA and refused to give certification to SANMATRIDA).” Salusad also warned the people that whoever complains and fights back, especially the Liguyon siblings, will also be killed.

The San Fernando Tribal Datus Association or SANMATRIDA, is a group of Lumad that acquired from the government a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 52,000 hectares of land in several villages in San Fernando, Bukidnon, including Dao. The SANMATRIDA Multi-purpose Cooperative, chaired by retired military official Herman Cris P. Estrella, has been enticing mining investors into their domain. The tribal datu of Barangay Dao under the SANMATRIDA is Alde’s uncle, Datu ‘Manayab’ Carillo Salusad.

Jimmy strongly resisted the entry of large scale mining companies in his village, where the main source of income is small-scale mining. His stand against the entry of mining companies in his village made him a target of SANMATRIDA and its armed force led by Ben Salusad aka Nonong, who is also Alde’s father.

In October 2011, Jimmy reported a series of harassment and attempts on his life, particularly by Nonong Salusad, who is associated with the Phil. Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, and from the paramilitary group TRIOM Force.

On 13 October 2011, Ben a.k.a Salusad called Jimmy, and threatened that should he go back to Dao, they would kill him. On 16 October, Angge Dal-anay, another leader of TRIOM Force, went with his group to Jimmy’s house, but the Liguyon family moved out of Dao after Salusad’s threats.

On 28 October 2011, Jimmy and his wife were coming home from a human rights’ day rally in Cagayan de Oro City, when they were stopped by armed men led by Dal-anay who marched them to a vacant house. Dal-anay told Jimmy to stop joining rallies, and that he should allow mining in Dao village Jimmy was steadfast in his anti-mining position, arguing that the people in Dao village did not want it and he, and neither did he, as village chief.

Jimmy also reported that SANMATRIDA convinced him and everyone else to join their organization. He also reported receiving information that Barangay Kagawad (village council members) Merlyn Isidro, Medy Mancilla and Fausto Bacliran were allegedly planning to kill him through the armed men of Nonong Salusad.

It was learned that the three village council members were the local buyers of gold in the area through their financier from Davao City and Valencia City. It was observed that the three were encouraging large scale mining companies to operate in their locality.

I trust that you take immediate action in this case.

AUTHOR: William Nicholas Gomes
URL: www.williamgomes.org
E-MAIL: williamgomes.org [at] gmail.com

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