On the 15 June 2016, Data Julio Laracio was shot and killed in Davao Del Norte on the island of Mindanao. Laracio was a tribal chieftain of Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon – an indigenous Lumad group – in Sitio Kispawc. The killer has been allegedly identified as am officer of the 68th Infantry Battalion Filipino Army (IFBA).
The lands of Lumad communities are regularly disrupted and occupied by members of the army on Mindanao. In order to clear settlements and root out insurgents the military will label peaceful community leaders, like Laracio as terrorists. The human rights organisation Karapatan reported his family and various witnesses had been targets of government surveillance and ‘red tagging.’
Laracio’s murder comes in a period of several weeks where seven farmers and Lumads were killed by the military. Jay Apiag, a spokesperson for Karapatan, said that the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan under outgoing president Benigno Aquino’s administration had set out to allegedly kill the seven farmers and lumads.