On March 5, indigenous chieftain and Dao village captain, Datu Jimmy Liguyon of San Fernando, Bukidnon was shot dead by members of the New Indigenous Peoples’ Army (NIPAR). A NIPAR leader then 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 which would lead to extensive mines in their traditional territory.
This is not the only case of extrajudicial killing of an indigenous leader in the Philippines. Paramilitary groups are terrorizing remote communities of indigenous peoples with regular use of threats, violence and killing against the communities. 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 are being used to defend investments such as mining, agro-industrial plantations and other development aggression. Those most affected are indigenous communities trying to protect their ancestral domains from destruction. However, these oppositions to development aggression are being portrayed as insurgents warranting militarization, further violating indigenous peoples’ rights.
Please sign on this petition to join with the indigenous communities to demand justice for the killing of Jimmy Liguyon and other indigenous leaders, end the terror tactics of paramilitary forces, and ensure safety of all human rights defenders in the Philippines.
This online petition has been initiated by Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR) and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).