Nonoy Palma, a member of a left-wing organization of farmers, was shot dead outside his house at Barangay Halapitan, San Fernando town in Bukidnon province on Saturday June 16 2019 by three men riding on a single motorcycle. Witnesses identified one of the gunmen as a member of the paramilitary group Alamara.
Nonoy was a member of KASAMA-Bukidnon, which is an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Philippine Peasant Movement) in the province. In a statement made to Davao Today, Ricardo Guinanao, chairperson of KASAMA-Bukidnon said, “Nonoy had recently joined the Independence Day protest, as well as a dialogue with the provincial government for the assistance to the farmers who were affected by the dry spell in our province”.
KASAMA-Bukidnon strongly believes that the killing was part of the crackdown on organizations that criticize the government and was part of the continued implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao. Guinanao said that their organization has been experiencing relentless attacks, such as filing of “trumped-up charges” against its members and 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 defenders, Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala, in the province of Sorsogon. “We have every reason to believe that those who killed Hubilla, Bagasala, and Palma are the death squads of the Duterte administration in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said in a statement. “They were killed because they are staunch human rights defenders who dare expose the current government’s transgressions on the rights and welfare of the people. They are seen as impediments to this murderous government’s reign of terror in rural areas,” she added.
Attacks on human rights defenders in the Philippines have caught the attention of 11 United Nations rapporteurs and human rights experts who issued a rare joint statement on June 7 calling on the UN to conduct an independent investigation into what they said was a “staggering” number of summary killings and attacks on human rights workers committed with impunity.
Source: Davao Today / Inquirer