On Thursday, 2 March, Jimboy Tapdasan Pesadilla was contacted by a neighbour to go to his parent’s house urgently. When he got to the house, he found several neighbours outside the house and a team of police inside, taking pictures. His father and mother had both been shot dead.
Ramon Dagaas Pesadilla and his wife Leonela Tapdasan Pesadilla were both active members of the Compostela Farmers’ Association( CFA). The CFA has been vocal in its opposition to major mining projects in the area, and as a result their members have been regular targets for the security forces and thugs hired by the mining companies. Ramon and Leonila had recently donated land for a Lumad community school. This had made them a particular target for attack as the security forces accuse indigenous community schools of fostering support for the New People’s Army (NPA – the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which has been waging an armed struggle against the government of the Philippines since the 1960’s). Human rights groups have reported an upward trend in human rights violations against indigenous people ever since fighting resumed between communist rebels and government forces following the termination of both parties’ unilateral ceasefires early last month.
These latest killings bring to 18 the number of killings of HRDs and members of peasant communities since the start of 2017.