MAC: Mines and Communities

Indigenous people's rights activist slain

Published by MAC on 2006-09-06

Indigenous people's rights activist slain

By Ben Serrano, The Philippine Star -

6th September 2006

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte - An advocate of indigenous people's rights and a Manobo leader himself was gunned down right inside his residence here last Monday afternoon.

The victim, Jovito Pinakiid, 45, killed by three men on board a TMX motorcycle, became the 15th activist slain in the Caraga region and the 35th across Mindanao.

Pinakiid's gunslaying now adds to the so-called "political killings" which the independent commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo is tasked to probe.

The Melo Commission includes Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos.

Pinakiid had advocated the right for self-determination of indigenous groups in the Caraga region against destructive mining and logging.

He sustained four gunshot wounds from caliber .45 pistols in different parts of the body, the Buenavista police said.

Pinakiid told The STAR two months ago that he was sad that thousands of lumads (uplanders) in the region were still oppressed and wallowing in poverty due to ignorance and continuing government neglect despite the passage of the Indigenous People's Rights Act, which supposedly guarantees their rights and welfare.

Chief Superintendent Antonio Dator, Caraga police director, said he has instructed his men to conduct a thorough investigation into Pinakiid's murder.

In an initial report, police claimed that Pinakiid had repeatedly been enticed by the New People's Army but reportedly turned their offers down because he wanted a peaceful resolution to the problems of indigenous groups.


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