A student Christian group hit the alleged “worsening impunity” in the attacks on Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines following the shooting incident on Wednesday of a presidential candidate in the southern part of the country.
“Landlords and mining companies in our country have become so desperate to the point that they would open fire against Indigenous Peoples even with a ‘presidentiable,'” said Kej Andres spokesperson of the ecumenical youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines.
Andres was referring to the shooting of a tribal Manobo-Pulangiyon group that was meeting with presidential candidate Leody de Guzman in Quezon town in the province of Bukidnon on Tuesday, April 19.
“We condemn the incident against,” said Andres, adding that local landlords, mining corporations, state forces, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte were responsible for the red-tagging of tribal people who assert their rights to their ancestral lands.
Andres said Indigenous Peoples and Moro communities in Mindanao have experienced “environmental plunder and other forms of violence to their land and ancestral domains,” resulting in “struggles and conflicts.”
“As Earth Day approaches …, we call for the protection of the environment and ancestral lands of Indigenous People” and an “end to the conflict in Mindanao.”
The youth alliance “Kabataan Tayo ang Pag-asa” also issued a condemnation of the incident, saying it “illustrates the bloody political landscape of the Philippines that has been worsening through this election season.”
Marielle Gorospe, KTAP national convener, said the incident also shows that “red-tagging can kill.”
“In the name of justice and peace, we call for all those who are in power to stop the violence especially this coming election,” said Gorospe.
“We urge all freedom-loving Filipinos to advocate and act towards, clean, fair, honest, and peaceful election season,” she added.
The Commissions of Elections has already offered additional security detail to all presidential and vice presidential candidates.