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The camp of Leody de Guzman on Tuesday (April 19) reported gunfire shots while they were in consultation with the leaders of Manobo-Pulangiyon, a tribe displaced from their ancestral land in Brgy. Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon Province since 2017, in the latest election-related violence in the Philippines.
— Ka Leody de Guzman (@LeodyManggagawa) April 19, 2022
De Guzman, along with senatorial candidates Roy Cabonegro and David D’Angelo, is safe, but two residents, including the local organizer of the farmers, were injured.
“Salamat sa mga nag-alala. Ako po at sila kasamang Roy Cabonegro at David D'angelo ay ligtas. Ang tinamaan ay ang nasa tabi ko, si Nanie Abela, na organizer ng mga magsasaka sa Mindanao. Casualty rin ang isang lider ng tribong Manobo-Pulangiyon,” de Guzman tweeted.
(Thanks for all the concern. Roy Cabonegro, David D’Angelo, and I are safe. Nanie Abela, the person beside me, was shot. He is a farmer organizer here in Mindanao. Another casualty is a leader of the Manobo-Pulangiyon tribe.)
“Alam nating mayayaman at makapangyarihan ang ating binabangga sa labang ito. Ngunit ibang klase pa rin kapag talagang direkta tayong dinahas. Walang halaga sa kanila ang buhay nating mga maliliit,” de Guzman added.
(We know that we’re fighting against rich and powerful people. But it really is different when we’re the one directly harassed. The lives of our common people don’t matter to them.)
Local authorities said that they already sent a team to investigate the alleged shooting in the area.
Close to a thousand Manobo-Pulangihon tribal families in Quezon town in Bukidnon have been driven away from a nearly 1,000-hectare property they called their ancestral land.
The families were ejected from their village in 2017, based on a Forest Land Graze Management Agreement (FLGMA) secured by the company Kiantig Development Corporation (KDC).
The president of KDC and mayor of Quezon town, Pablo Lorenzo III, never vacated the premises even after the FLGMA was not renewed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2018.
Lawyer Alberto Lagamon, a legal consultant of the provincial government, said that none of the concerned government agencies dared to eject KDC from the property.
Lagamon added that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) should first issue a certification that the property is ancestral land so that the families could return. However, NCIP Chairman Allen Capuyan is yet to sign the certification.
Ka Leody called for peace in Mindanao and justice for the rights of the indigenous people of Bangsa Moro. De Guzman and his camp has been in Mindanao the last three days to consult with indigenous tribes in the island.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. The views expressed are her own.
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