Hon. Leila de Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, Department of National Defense (DND)
Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President, Senate of the Philippines
Hon. Jose Midas Marquez, Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines
Zenaida Brigida H. Pawid, Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Hon. Emilio Gonzalez, Deputy Ombusdman, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other Law Enforcement Offices
Hon. Alex Calingasan, Governor, Province of Bukidnon
Hon. Joze Maria Zubiri, Vice Governor, Province of Bukidnon
Hon. Laurencia S. Edma, Mayor, Municipality of San Fernando
H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc
Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels
Police Director General Raul M. Bacalso, Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General Rafael Crame
Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
The Chief of Police, Philippine National Police, San Fernando
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines
On March 5 this year, indigenous chieftain and Dao village captain Datu Jimmy Liguyon, of San Fernando, Bukidnon was killed in cold blood by members of the New Indigenous Peoples Army Reform (NIPAR) right in front of his house, in plain sight of his brothers and neighbors. After killing Liguyon, NIPAR leader Alde Salusad threatened the witnesses that anyone who went against their group would meet...
On March 5 this year, indigenous chieftain and Dao village captain Datu Jimmy Liguyon, of San Fernando, Bukidnon was killed in cold blood by members of the New Indigenous Peoples Army Reform (NIPAR) right in front of his house, in plain sight of his brothers and neighbors. After killing Liguyon, NIPAR leader Alde Salusad threatened the witnesses that anyone who went against their group would meet a similar fate and made it clear to the witnesses that he had killed Liguyon because of his opposition to plans to allow mining in the area.
Jimmy Liguyon was the chairperson of Kasilo, an indigenous peoples’ organization of Manobos and Matigsalugs in Southern Bukidnon. Kasilo is resisting the entry of large-scale mining into the indigenous territories, and instead, is supporting traditional gold panning, one of the primary livelihoods of the indigenous communities.
Liguyon was also the last village captain who refused to sign documents supporting the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) application of the San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus (SANMATRIDA). He refused to sign it because SANMATRIDA’s plans are to invite mining and agro-industrial plantations into their ancestral domain in San Fernando. Nineteen families from barangay Dao have formed a protest camp at the provincial capitol grounds in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon to demand justice for Liguyon and to be safe until the killers are caught.
This is not the only extra-judicial killing of an indigenous leader in the Philippines. Three years ago, Datu Mansubaybay Badbaran, Datu Mampaagi Belayong and Datu Albi Binungkasan were successively killed by paramilitary groups. And just last year, Datu Lapugotan Belayong, the brother of Datu Mampaagi was killed, again by paramilitary forces. These leaders have been vocally firm against the entry of plunder operations in their ancestral domain.
Paramilitary groups are terrorizing remote communities of indigenous peoples with threats, violence and killings. Through Executive Order 546, the government has legitimized them as support forces for ‘peace and order’ that augment the Philippine Army, officially in pursuing armed rebel groups. However, as human rights groups have pointed out after monitoring them for years, these groups have a long history of human rights violations that always go unpunished, creating a culture of impunity and ‘might is right’ in the country’s rural areas.
These forces have been used to defend investments such as mining, agro-industrial plantations and other development aggression. Those most affected are indigenous communities often in the remote areas who are trying to protect their ancestral domains from destruction. Killing leaders and threatening and harassing indigenous human rights defenders and their communities are meant to subdue the communities.
We urge you and all the concerned authorities to:
1. Immediately investigate the killing of Jimmy Liguyon and the other harassments perpetrated by the NIPAR and other paramilitary groups in the area. Immediately arrest Alde Salusad and disband and disarm NIPAR.
2. Provide adequate reparation to Jimmy Liguyon’s family. Provide security provisions and psycho-social counseling for the traumatized families while Alde Salusad and other perpetrators have not been arrested.
3. Decline the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title application of SANMATRIDA and revoke mining permits in the area.
4. Revoke Executive Order 546, which legalizes the use of civilians as support forces to the Philippine military, as has Your Excellency promised since running for the presidency.
5. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against indigenous human rights defenders who are exercising their right to an adequate standard of living by defending their ancestral lands, all human rights defenders in the Philippines and ensure that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance.