PRESS RELEASE – The human rights network End Impunity Alliance today condemned the most recent killing of Italian priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, parish priest of Arakan Valley in North Cotabato and a known advocate of the rights of lumads and farmers in the province.
According to initial news reports, Fr. Tentorio, who had been serving Mindanao since 1978 and was head of the Tribal Filipinos Apostolate of the Diocese of Kidapawan, was gunned down at around 8:30 Monday morning just as he was preparing to leave his convent in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato, for the 9 a.m. clergy meeting in Kidapawan City.
“We extend our deepest condolences for the love ones of Fr. Tentorio and for all the people whose lives were touched by him. We condemn in highest terms the recent killing of a beloved, committed and pro-poor priest who has served our poor kababayans in Mindanao, despite several threats to his life. His public position against big corporate mining in the province and his advocacy for the rights of farmers and indigenous peoples is a testament to his selflessness,” Cristina Palabay, End Impunity Alliance convenor, said.
Fr. Tentorio was a compatriot of Fr. Tulio Favali, who was murderd in 1985 in Tulunan town by the vigilante group Ilaga, led by Norberto Manero. Fr. Tentorio experienced a near-death experience on October 6, 2003 during one of his visits to the Lumads of Kitaotao, Bukidnon, portions of which are part of the parish of Arakan, where he had organized the tribal organization called the Tinananon-Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa or TIKULPA.
Fr. Tentorio’s killing came after the declaration of Major General Jorge Segovia, 10th Infantry Division commander, that Southern Mindanao is the new epicenter of the New People’s Army.
“Justice should be immediately rendered for Fr. Tentorio and all victims of summary executions. Such climate of impunity exists to this day, thus victimizing anti-mining advocates such as Fr. Tentorio because of the non-prosecution of those accountable for the previous cases of human rights violations and the existing counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayamihan of the Aquino administration,” Palabay said. #
References: Cristina Palabay, Convenor, End Impunity Alliance (0917-5003879)
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, End Impunity Alliance (0915-2117610)
Italian priest shot dead in North Cotabato
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines—A still unidentified man shot dead Italian priest Fausto Tentorio in Arakan town in North Cotabato on Monday morning, a local official said.
Arakan Councilor Leonardo Reovoca said Fr. Tentorio, parish priest of Arakan town, was about to open his vehicle when a man shot him shortly before 8 a.m.
Tentorio was to attend a clergy meeting in Kidapawan City when he was shot by the helmet-wearing man.
The priest was immediately brought to the Antipas Medical Specialist but was declared dead.
Reovoca said some parish workers rushed out when they heard a series of shots and noticed the gunman walking to a waiting motorcycle.
“I cannot imagine it would happen to him. We don’t have an idea as to the motive of the killing,” Reovoca said.#