MAC/20: Mines and Communities

CPA condemns killing of Pangasinan peasant leader

Published by MAC on 2006-05-18

CPA condemns killing of Pangasinan peasant leader

CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE

18th May 2006

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) strongly condemns the brutal killing of Jose Doton, 62, chairperson of the Tignayan dagiti Mannalon a Mangwayawaya iti Agno (TIMMAWA), and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Pangasinan secretary general, the 94th political activist slain under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime this year. He was gunned down on May 16, 2006 in Brgy. Camangaan, San Nicolas, Pangasinan by 2 motorcycle-riding men. Tatang Jose was also aboard a motorcycle driven by his brother Cancio, 57. Cancio survived the shooting and remains in critical condition in the hospital.

The death of Tatang Jose, including the recent deaths of other political activists such as Bayan Muna Regional Coordinator for Cagayan Valley Elena Mendiola, and Ricardo Balauag of Bayan Muna Isabela, only proves once more the GMA regime's plot to terrorize and destroy the people's movement through its Oplan Bantay Laya. These deaths, which are systematically executed from one region to the next, exposes the desperation of the crumbling GMA government to prevail in power. The heightened, continuing political killings and repression, is occurring fast at a nationwide scale. The Batasan 5, for instance, have again been charged anew with alleged criminal cases.

Tatang Jose was an ordinary peasant from Brgy. Cabaluan in San Nicolas who led and fought for the rights of the people of Pangasinan and Cordillera to his last breathe. Even before becoming the TIMMAWA chairperson, he had been at the forefront of the struggle against the San Roque Dam. At the height of the anti-San Roque Dam struggle, he was already receiving death threats and was being harassed for his active leadership therein. Tatang Jose's leadership significantly raised the issue of the people of Pangasinan against the mega dam and its adverse effects to people's livelihood and resources, even at the international level. The construction of the San Roque Dam displaced 660 families, while more than 10, 000 goldpanners from Pangasinan were economically displaced. In Itogon, Benguet, around 20,000 indigenous peoples are adversely affected by the operation of the dam due to siltation build-up.

After the killing of Tatang Jose, we in the CPA would like to alert the public and the media on the ongoing harassment and surveillance of our colleagues. In recent weeks, APIT TAKO's (Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilerya) Virgilio Aniceto has been followed around by three men, even asking neighbors about his whereabouts in his home barrio in Ucab, Itogon. Aniceto has been a Council of Elders member for the TIMMAWA. Aniceto is also a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

We heighten our call to the public to denounce and resist the political harassment, repression and killings gripping our country. These killings are not a mere attack to the political activists but to the very lives and civil liberties of the Filipino people. As the activist death toll rises, we call on all freedom-loving citizens to join mass actions to protest the killings. These leaders felled or targeted by the assassin's bullet are but ordinary people who are making a difference by fighting for the rights of their fellow exploited countrymen. As we condemn these continuing killings, we also intensify our call for the ouster of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and for the stop to political killings and repression.

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