On the 17th of March 2018, 33-year-old banana plantation worker and human rights advocate, Ariel Maquiran, was gunned down in Panabo City in the Philippines.
Maquiran’s assailant intercepted Maquiran en-route to work where the shooter later fled on a motorbike.
Maquiran was an active member of the progressive party list, Bayan Muna (People First) and lead an active role in the 2017 land take over by land occupied by Lapanday Foods Corp. which was initially awarded to farmers under the agrarian reforms by the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Because of Maquiran’s reputation as a progressive worker rights and peasant rights activist, Maquiran had become the target and the recipient of successive harassments by actors suspected to be agents of the military. On May 16, an incident in which Maquiran was being violently harassed resulted in the activist finding refuge in a nearby community. Maquiran was similarly called on by the military on March 2018, alleging his involvement in a tactical offensive launched by the New People’s Army (NPA) against the Lapanday Foods Corporation in 2017.
Maquiran’s death sheds a critical spotlight on the dangers of peasant and worker rights activism in the Philippines and the sustained, alleged, weaponization of the military of the Duterte regime against its people.