Pull out soldiers from communities, Duterte urged

(Photo by Kitanglad Multimedia Collective)

Jimmy Saypan, 48, secretary-general of CFA, had been vocal against the operations of Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (Agpet).

MANILA – As another farmer was assassinated in Compostela Valley, human rights alliance Karapatan called on President Rodrigo Duterte to pull soldiers out of communities.

Jimmy Saypan, leader of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) was shot at by suspected soldiers, at around 6 a.m. of October 10. On board his motorcycle, Saypan was passing by barangay New Visayas, Montevista when a man riding a motorcycle chased and shot at him. Saypan was rushed to Montevista District Hospital and was later transferred to Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City. He died the next day.

A week before the incident, Saypan faced the elements of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion in a dialogue and demanded the pullout of soldiers, Karapatan said. Saypan was listed in the military’s Order of Battle list, which was distributed in the province.

Saypan, 48, secretary-general of CFA, had been vocal against the operations of Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (Agpet), a mining subsidiary of Eduardo Cojuangco’s San Miguel Corporation. The CFA has been petitioning for the revocation of AGPET’s exploration permit in the farmers’ lands and communities since 2012.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said the Army has been deployed to the community “to secure AGPET’s mining area.”

Saypan’s colleague, Noli Villanueva, vice chairperson of CFA, said residents of Compostela has experienced a series of harassment and surveillance due to their protests against Agpet.

Villanueva, who has joined the national caravan of Lumad and peasants, said, “We won’t allow the entry of this mining, because this would greatly affect the farmers and Lumad.”

The Lakbayan ng Mindanao delegates staged a protest condemning the killing of Saypan in Naga City on their way to UP Los Banos Laguna.

Karapatan documented at least seven political killings, including the case of Saypan, since Duterte’s declaration of unilateral ceasefire in August 2016.

Mindanao delegates of the Lakbayan will arrive in Manila on October 13 for a series of protests, peace forums and dialogues and will stay at UP Diliman for a people’s camp. (http://bulatlat.com)

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