Condemn shooting of Lumads, Ka Leody contingent in Bukidnon

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We strongly condemn the shooting incident this morning in Barangay Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon where a Lumad community, together with a contingent of presidential candidate Ka Leody de Guzman, were fired upon, injuring several people, including members of the Manobo-Pulangihon group.

The shooting was carried out by armed goons of the big landlord Lorenzo family. The Lorenzo landlord family is notorious for landgrabbing of Lumad ancestral lands to expand its plantations to supply multinational corporation Del Monte with pineapples for exports. The armed goons of the Lorenzos have long colluded with the forces of the 88th IB in the suppression drive against the Lumads in Quezon and other towns in Bukidnon.

For several years now, the Manobo-Pulangihon community have been forced to live in shanties by the back roads away from their land. They have been struggling to return to their 900-hectare ancestral land which was placed under a Forest Land Grazing Management Agreement (FLGMA) belonging to the Lorenzo-owned Kiantig Development Corp. The agreement expired in 2018 but the Lorenzos refuse to give up their control. Del Monte and Mayor Pablo Lorenzo III are being indicted for the 2017 killing of Manobo-Pulangihon leader Renato Anglao who led the resistance against the Lorenzo-owned Rancho Montalvan. In 2015, company guards opened fire at their community as they were preparing to mount a protest killing Mabini “Tata” Baito and injuring two others.

We commend “Ka Leody” and his group for joining the Manobo-Pulangihon community in their demand to reclaim their land. We enjoin other candidates to help put a spotlight on the cause of the Lumads of Mindanao and minority people across the country who are defending their ancestral land.

The incident this morning in Quezon, Bukidnon is not an isolated case. Ancestral land of Lumad groups in Mindanao, as well as of minority groups across the country, are being violently grabbed and plundered by big mining companies and plantations, and to give way to ecotourism, energy, dams and other infrastructure projects.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), private armed goons and paramilitary groups have colluded with big landlords and big capitalists in driving Lumad communities away from their land. Those who continue to defend their land have been subjected to armed suppression in line with the regime’s policy of “counterinsurgency.”

The shooting incident this morning shows why Lumads and other minority communities continue to support and join the New People’s Army (NPA). Without the NPA, the masses of Lumads and poor peasants have nothing to defend their land with.

Units of the NPA will continue to persevere and fight for the rights and interests of the Lumad and other minority people especially in the face of rising cases of landgrabbing of ancestral land.

Condemn shooting of Lumads, Ka Leody contingent in Bukidnon
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