On 31 March, 2020, Nora Apique, 66, was shot dead by unidentified assailants. According to Amihan, the National Federation of Peasant Women, she was on her way home when gunmen fired at her in barangay Patong.
Apique was a leader of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Surigao del Sur. She was also a member of Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC), and became the chairperson of the Municipal ARC. She had also been a member of the Provincial ARC since 2016. In 2017, she joined the caravan to Manila demanding free irrigation services for farmers.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Caraga chapter, said Apique was constantly red-tagged by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups. She was openly accused by the military of being an NPA recruiter along with Silvestre L. Maratas, vice-chairperson of the KAMASS-KMP, San Miguel Chapter. These accusations were publicly made in 2017 and 2018 by military assets Hatung and Eugene Maca in the radio programme of the 16th Special Forces Battalion on NICE Radio FM in San Miguel.
In 2017, Nanay Nora was ordered by officials of the 16th SFB and 36th IBPA to “report” to the military encamped in the barangay hall of Brgy. Patong to “clear” her name. She was scolded by a military official when she went there accompanied by neighbours and her family and was told that she should have gone there alone.
In 2019, Nanay Nora was “visited” by three soldiers belonging to the 36th IBPA who told her to “surrender.” Nanay Nora refused, telling the soldiers that she would not surrender because she was a civilian.
“Nanay Nora was killed because of her unwavering commitment to the struggle of poor farmers for land and rights. She was killed because she was an activist. She was killed because she was an effective peasant leader,” said Karapatan Caraga.
In a statement, Zenaida Soriano, chairperson of Amihan, said, “Apique’s killing shows that military operations continue despite the crisis the country is facing and the preventive community quarantine being implemented in the province.”
“We demand justice for the brutal killing of Nora Apique, a peasant woman leader of Surigao del Sur who has been active in asserting farmers’ rights to land, food and justice since the 1980s,” Soriano added.
Apique was the 249th farmer and 35thpeasant woman killed under the Duterte regime.