Liovigildo Palma

Farmer’s organisation Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) has condemned the killing of one of its members in the Bukidnon province.

On 16 June 2019, 57-year-old Liovigildo “Nonoy” Palma, an active member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, which is an affiliate of KMP in the province, was shot dead.

Three suspects riding a single motorcycle gunned down Palma right outside his house at Barangay Halapitan, Sitio Malambago, in San Fernando town. KMP said witnesses identified one of the gunmen as a member of the paramilitary group, Alamara.

Ricardo Guinanao, chairperson of KASAMA-Bukidnon stated in a press interview that Palma sustained two gunshot wounds to the head and another two in the stomach that resulted in his immediate death.

“Nonoy had recently joined the Independence Day protest, and had taken part in a dialogue with the provincial government to discuss assistance to farmers affected by the recent dry spell in our province,” Guinanao said.

KMP strongly believed that the killing was part of the renewed crackdown on organisations critical of the government and its continued implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.

Guinanao said that their organisation has been experiencing relentless attacks, such as the filing of “trumped-up charges” against its members accusing them of being a “communist front.”

Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan noted that the killing of Palma took place a day after the killing of two human rights workers in the province of Sorsogon where two unnamed men calmly approached human rights workers Nelly Bagasala and Ryan Hubilla as they were paying their tricycle fare and shot them repeatedly, killing the two on the spot.

Attacks on human rights defenders have also caught the attention of 11 United Nations rapporteurs and human rights experts who issued a rare joint statement on è June calling on the UN to conduct an independent investigation of what they said was a “staggering” number of summary killings and attacks on human rights workers committed with impunity.

According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch “many of these killings can be linked to members of the military, police, or security force-backed militias. Very few of the killings of activists over the years have been seriously investigated, and hardly any have resulted in convictions. Often, the military and police accuse the victims of being either members or sympathizers of the Communist Party of the Philippines or its armed wing, the New People’s Army. Government officials have recently accused leftist groups that operate openly and legally of being communists, a label that can place their members at grave risk. Journalists and lawyers’ groups critical of the Duterte administration have also been subjected to this “red-tagging.”

The shift in counterinsurgency tactic had been ordered by Duterte who, in January 2018 upon his return from India, said his all-out war on rebels now included what he said were the rebels’ “legal fronts,” or groups identified with the left.

He said his order to the military was “crush the rebellion“ and “if you have to kill, do it.”

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Country:The Philippines





Date of Killing:16/06/2019

Previous Threats:Unknown

Type of Work:Farmer

Organisation:Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-affiliated Kasama Bukidnon

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Land Rights, Peasant Communities

More information:Front Line Defenders

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