Opol, Misamis Oriental – On October 16, 2015, at around 9:30 in the morning, five security guards of Denosta’s ranch harassed and fired at 21 members of a Higaonon community in Sitio Inayaw, hurting two individuals. Jessi Ragmac, 27 years old, was hit in the hand while another victim Giovanni Jaudian, 35 years old, was hurt while when he fell during the commotion. The guards allegedly also pointed their guns at the victims’ women companions.
The victims said they were attending to their crops when the guards appeared and demanded who their leader was. The guards reportedly said that Leo Paguidopon, land caretaker, “ordered them to kill anyone” who would enter the ranch.
The village of Bagocboc was first occupied by Higaonon families, and Sitio Inayaw is part of their ancestral domain.
In 1974, a certain Ella Y. Denosta leased the area from the government and converted it into a ranch, now managed by Paguidopon. The area was later fenced, which forced the Higaonon families out to the adjacent areas. Over the decades, some areas became unused and fences were destroyed.
On October 14, 2014, pushed by hunger, Higaonon families from nearby areas started to till the idle land to survive.
The victims were all members of Pangalasag (Indigenous Shield), a community-based member organisation of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organisation, which has been active since 2011 in the campaign against expansion of an oil palm plantation in Opol.
Demand justice now!
EXPRESS YOUR CONCERN to the Philippine Government by writing to:
Hon. Leila M. de Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Tel: 523-8481 (loc. 211/214 ), 521-1908
Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193, Fax:+63(2) 911-6213
Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission On Human Rights
Telefax: 929-0102, 928-5655, 926-6188
Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III
Chair, Justice and Human Rights Committee
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 70 loc. 5548
Direct Lines: (632) 822-9758
Fax No.: (632) 822-9759
Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr.
Chair, Human Rights Committee
House of Representatives
Tel: (632) 931-5001; local 7051, 9518974
Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chair, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Hon. Yevgeny Emano
Governor, Province of Misamis Oriental
Tel: +63 88 272 4585
Hon. Maximino B. Seno
Mayor, Municipality of Opol
Tel: (08822) 754-003; (088) 875 4004
Copy furnish your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact us at:
Higala sa Lumad Network
Room 01, Kalinaw Lanao Center for Interfaith Resources
0016 Bougainvilla Puti, Villaverde
9200 Iligan City, Philippines
T/F: +63 (63) 223 5179
Katungod Lumad Alert is published by the ‘Higala sa Lumad’ [Friends of the Lumad] Network.
‘Higala sa Lumad’ Network is a support group composed of a broad range of interfaith personalities/representative of organizations synergizing relevant capacities and resources for Lumad communities under attack. ‘Higala’ also serves as an informal monitoring network for Lumad human rights. ‘Higala’ has been established as a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project.
Published with support from the European Commission.