DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 4, 2013) – Unidentified gunmen shot dead a village official who was among the leaders that led a protest in Davao City to condemn the non-delivery of humanitarian aid to victims of typhoon in Davao Oriental province in the southern Philippines, human rights groups told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Quoting reports from Hanimay Suazo, Secretary General of the Karapatan in southern Mindanao, Hustisya said Cristina Jose, of Binondo village in the town of Baganga in Davao Oriental, was killed at around 6 p.m. Monday.
It said Jose just attended a village session and was heading home when she was shot.
Hustisya strongly condemned the killing of Jose, who was one of the leaders that trooped to the office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao City.
Jose was also a leader of Bayan Muna and a member of Barug Katawhan, the organization formed by typhoon victims that demanded not only food and relief, but accountability to government agencies such as the DSWD due to the non-delivery of much-needed aid.
“We are filled with anger with the killing of Cristina Jose. We condemn those who felled her in as much as we have condemned the government who further aggravated the suffering of the typhoon victims,” Hustisya Secretary General Cristina Guevarra said.
Karapatan said prior to the killing, Jose and the others who joined the protest were allegedly harassed by other officials and soldiers who belong to the 67th Infantry Battalion.
“They demanded food and justice, but they are harassed and even killed. We demand justice for Jose, and to the typhoon survivors who have been resilient against the government’s blatant negligence and ineptitude towards their plight,” Guevarra said.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan also condemned the murder and said “blood is in the hands of President Benigno Aquino.”
“We condemn in strongest terms this treachery by the fascist government. What Kagawad Jose did was to simply expose cases of corruption and human rights violations enshrouding the relief operations in Baganga perpetrated by the 67th Infantry Battalion," said Bayan spokesperson Sheena Duazo.
She said troops blockaded the humanitarian aid intended for the typhoon victims in the village of Binondo.
“The Aquino government must be held accountable for allowing the number of human rights violations and the state of impunity to go unabated. We demand accountability from the current regime for the killing of Jose and all other victims of Oplan Bayanihan,” Duazo said, referring to the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.