Philippines: Indigenous peoples condemn killing of Margarito Cabal
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan n Pilipinas (KAMP) condemned the killing of Margarito Cabal, a government employee from Kibawe, Bukidnon. Cabal was shot down by two unidentified men on a motorcycle last May 9, Cabal sustained four gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
In a protest action at the gates of the Department of National Defense, KAMP, Katribu Partylist and other human rights organizations carpeted the agency with a streamer calling to “Stop the Killings!”
“Margarito Cabal was a prominent leader of the people, who fought against the construction of a megadam that will straddle North Cotabato and Bukidnon. These areas are mostly populated by Lumad and Moro peoples, who will be bereft of livelihood and homes when this project is pushed through,” Piya Macliing Malayao, KAMP spokesperson said. “His death is a blow to the indigenous and Moro people, especially those whose ancestral land rights he advocated,”
The 300-megawatt Pulangi V Dam will drown 22 barangays (villages) in a stretch of 40,000 hectares in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, a project by the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO.)
KAMP says the killing of Margarito Cabal is not a first dam-related slay of indigenous peoples or their advocates. “The defense of land, life and resources has martyred many. Jose Doton, Nicanor delos Santos, and Macliing Dulag are among them,” Malayao said. “All of them were killed by State mercenaries or military agents.”
According to KAMP, the country's river sytems have been arbitrarily used for energy development. “Dams are being built across the nation to facilitate development, but development has been defined from the perspective of foreign investors and the government. And it is the Filipino masses who are damned to pay the price,” Malayao added. “The people should be in control of our resources. Energy development programs must be attuned towards national industrialization and agriculture.”
“This is a project that the people that does need nor want,” Malayao said. “The people's need for electricity, irrigation, and water supply is not the priority of these hydroelectric projects, proven by the high costs of utilities and water services, and the violation of the peoples rights. Profit is the priority. These are but excuses to justify their greed,” Malayao added.
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