MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Philippine military implicated in murder of another anti-mining activist

Published by MAC on 2009-05-11

Following the killing this March of anti-mining campaigner, Boy Billanes, on the island of Mindanao http://www.minesandcommunities.org//article.php?a=9106 another activist - an Indigenous leader - has also been assassinated.

Military blamed for recent killing of activist in Davao Oriental

GMAnews.tv

30th April 2009

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - An anti-mining activist was killed in southern Philippines last Wednesday, and militant groups and leftist organizations said the military might have something to do with it.

Ludinio Monson was shot in the town of Boston in Davao Oriental province Wednesday afternoon. The military however denied any involvement in the killing and had in fact condemned the attack.

"The news linking the military to the killing is no surprise. It became the practice of militant groups to attribute the killing and use the issue in discrediting the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the government," said Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, a regional army commander.

He said Monson, chairman of the militant group called "Negkahiusa Koy Mag-uuma to Boston," could have been killed by people he wronged in the past.

Mapagu said it is not the military policy to target innocent civilians in its campaign against communist insurgents. He ordered army commanders in the province to work closely with the police and cooperate with government agencies investigating the killing.

Lt. Col. Rolando Bautista, a spokesman for the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said the accusation that the military is involved in the killing was baseless.

"It is our best interest to seek the truth and find out the real culprits so that we can clear the name of the organization from the accusations of some individuals who maliciously link us to the crime even without any solid basis or evidence," he said.

Militant groups have linked the military in extra-judicial killings of political activists and civilians suspected as supporters of the communist New People's Army (NPA). - Al Jacinto, GMANews.TV


Gunman kill anti-mining activist in Mindanao; military denies hand in murder

Mindanao Examiner

30th April 2009

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - An unidentified gunman killed a militant leader who opposed mining operations in the southern Philippines.

Ludinio Monson was shot in the town of Boston in Davao Oriental province on Wednesday afternoon and the military has quickly denied any involvement in the killing and condemned the attack.

Militant groups and leftist organizations have blamed the military for the murder of Monson, who led anti-mining protests and rallies in the past in Mindanao.

"The news linking the military to the killing is no surprise. It became the practice of militant groups to attribute the killing and use the issue in discrediting the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the government," said Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, a regional army commander.

He said Monson, chairman of the militant group called "Negkahiusa Koy Mag-uuma to Boston," could have been killed by people he wronged in the past.

Mapagu said it is not the military policy to target innocent civilians in its campaign against communist insurgents. He ordered army commanders in the province to work closely with the police and cooperate with government agencies investigating the killing.

Lt. Col. Rolando Bautista, a spokesman for the Army's 10th Infantry Division, the accusations against the military linking soldiers to the murder was baseless.

"It is our best interest to seek the truth and find out the real culprits so that we can clear the name of the organization from the accusations of some individuals who maliciously link us to the crime even without any solid basis or evidence," he said.

Militant groups have linked the military in extrajudicial killings of political activists and civilians suspected as supporters of the communist New People's Army.

Leftist organizations and human rights groups also implicated government soldiers in the abduction and brutal killing of Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of a senior NPA leader in Mindanao, Leoncio Pitao alias Kumander Parago.

Pitao, 20, was abducted in Davao City on March 4 and her naked body was found the next day floating in a shallow creek in the village of San Isidro in Davao del Norte's Carmen town. Her body bore torture marks and was believed raped before she was stabbed in the chest.

Pitao tagged 11 military agents as behind the murder of his daughter, a teacher by profession, who led a simple and quiet life with her family in Davao City.

Communist rebels broke off peace talks with Manila in 2004 after the United States listed the communist groups as foreign terrorist organizations and froze their assets abroad on government's prodding. (Mindanao Examiner)


Anti-mining lumad leader killed in Davao Oriental

By Cheryll Fiel, Davao Today

30th April 2009

DAVAO CITY - A lumad leader was gunned down just a few meters from the town hall of Boston in Davao Oriental yesterday, bringing to 10 the total number of activist killings in the region since May last year.

Ludenio Monson, a Mandaya farmer and leader of Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Boston (United Farmers of Boston), was shot at around 4:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday, a volunteer from the Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous Peoples (Sagip) told Davao Today in a text message. Monson was with a companion at the time of the incident.

He told colleagues last month that he (Monson) was already a "marked" man his area. He said he got information that his name was in the military's Order of Battle list and that he could be "taken anytime." He was among those strongly opposed to mining.

The lumad group believes that Monson's active stand against mining and human rights violations in Boston communities made him a target for assassination.

Monson filed a case at the Commission on Human Rights Region XI (CHR) office in October last year against military men who allegedly surrounded their house and intimidated his family with their firearms. But Sagip volunteers said the CHR did not consider Monson's case a human rights violations case because, at that time, no harm befell Monson and his family yet.

In an October 7 interview with the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)-DXDC in Davao, Monson said the military accused him of helping bury an NPA rebel killed in an encounter, that's why they (the military) harassed his family. He said the accusation was not true.

In February last year, Monson also told Davao Today how he and his wife were stopped by soldiers on the road to their home in barangay Caatihan, where their children were left on their own. He said they were in a hurry because there was an impending armed confrontation between the soldiers and the rebels and they feared for the children's safety.

But when Monson asked the soldiers to let them through, he was scolded and threatened.

Monson was among those who led the farmers' march-protest at the provincial capitol, calling for a stop to the military operations in Boston, Baganga and Cateel towns of Davao Oriental in the first quarter of last year. Residents complained the military operations affected their livelihood and posed grave threats to their lives.

In 2007, Monson also led a barricade against the drilling operations of Australian-owned Omega Gold in sitio Napo, 5M in Barangay Caatihan, a village that bordered the gold-rich Diwalwal mining town of Compostela Valley. (Cheryll Fiel/davaotoday.com)


PASAKA condemns the killing of lumad leader in Boston

PASAKA Press Statement

http://www.mindanaoexaminer.com/news.php?news_id=20090501230457

30th April 2009

PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao strongly condemns the killing of lumad leader Leodinio "Manong Dos" Monson Thursday, April 29, 2009 in Boston, Davao Oriental. Monson is the chairperson of Nigkahiusa Koy Mag-uuma to Boston (NIGKOMB), council member of PASAKA and Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN) and a staunch anti large-scale mining lumad-Mandaya leader.

Monson was driving a motorcycle when 2 armed men wearing bonnets also on-board motorcycle were tailing him and upon nearing Monson, the perpetrators shot him several times at around 4:30PM Thursday. Monson sustained fatal gunshot wound in the left side of his armpit.

It was just a month ago when Monson reported to PASAKA office regarding the armed men believe to be members of the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB) whom he and his friends noticed to be tailing him whenever he goes to Boston town. According to him, one of his friends who happens to be a member of military told him that he is on top of the military's Order of the Battle (OB) list and that anytime he will be gunned down. Monson immediately reported this incident to the media, in fact he had been interviewed by RMN regarding the aforementioned threats.

We express our outrage over this brutal killing of our leader who have been firm in its commitment to defend the lumad people and our ancestral lands. He had also been steadfast in his anti-mining position. He led the the big anti-mining protest rally against the Omega Gold Mining and drilling sites in Boston in December 2007 and until his death he has been leading the anti-mining campaign in their area. In February this year, Monson was elected as the new member of the KALUMARAN Council due to his active involvement not only leading their local lumad/farmers organization in Boston but he had also been helping with the other lumad organizations in other communities in the region.

We grieve because we have lost a very committed lumad leader and a human rights defender who was versatile, talented, highly respected and admired by his colleagues. He had also been helping and facilitating lumad farmers who were victims of human rights violations in various towns in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. He accompanied the victims here in Davao City to file cases in the Commission on Human Rights. He himself had filed cases against the military under the 67th Infantry Battalion who harassed, threatened and accused him to be helping a wounded NPA.

Leodinio "Manong Dos" Monson's martyrdom inspires us to resist more and be relentless to our struggle against the exploitation and transgression of mining TNCs and their supporters in the country. He will always be remembered for his undying courage to be always at the forefront of the lumad struggle for right to ancestral domain and right to self-determination. He will always be remembered for fearlessly standing up for and with the lumad and peasant people in the pursuit of justice and genuine development. We will continue his legacy and we will continue to tread the dangerous path of working and uniting with the people in defense of our land and life.

PASAKA extends its deepest deepest sympathy and condolences to the bereaved family, friends and colleagues of Leodinio "Manong Dos" Monson.

We believe that this killing is part of the Arroyo Government's Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) Program which is being implemented by the cold-blooded criminals under 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) operating in Davao Region. We strongly denounce this culture of impunity which is intended to silence dissent, terrorize the people, sow fear among mining-affected communities and coerce the growing and widening resistance of the lumad people in opposing anti-people and anti-environment large-scale mining projects.

The Arroyo regime, its military and agents under 10th Infantry Division of the AFP in Davao Region must be made to stop these gross human rights violations and be held accountable for them. PASAKA reverberate its call for the immediate investigation on the part of the Boston, Davao Oriental local and the provincial government on this brutal killing and help bring justice for Monson family.

Justice for Leodinio "Dos" Monson! Justice for all the Victims of Political Killings!
Stop Military Persecution of Indigenous People!
NO to large-scale Mining and STOP Militarization!

For reference:

Kerlan 'Lala' Fanagel
PASAKA Secretary General
Contact Number: 09192714767

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