Philippines: Not a 'mass grave,' Ligiw family slay are extrajudicial killings--IP group
Indigenous peoples organization Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) condemned the slays of Licuben Ligiw, and his sons, Freddie "Fermin" Ligiw and Edie Ligiw, all farmers and members of the Binongan tribe in Baay-Licuan, Abra.
According to a statement by 1st Lieutenant Rowena Abayon, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, the Ligiws were executed by the New People's Army and then buried in a 'mass grave.' KAMP and other human rights groups are unconvinced, however.
"This is no mass grave. Rebel executions is a worn lie of the AFP, meant to overshadow the fact that the AFP are victimizing unarmed civilians under its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan," Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of KAMP claimed. "The Ligiws are civilians, but are a thorn in their side, because of the family's involvement in organizations that condemned the militarization and human rights violations exacted by the AFP to the people in the province."
Fermin was due to file on March 4 a human rights violation report to the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) after he was used as a guide to aid the military in pursuing members of the New People's Army.
According to a report made by the CHRA, The Ligiws were reported missing by their family on March 6, and were found after a search on March 7, buried in a shallow grave near their hut. They were bound and gagged, and placed unceremoniously on top of one another. The CHRA suspects that members of the 41st IB, who are said to be conducting operations in the area when the Ligiws were last sighted on March 2, may be involved in the killings.
"These slays top off the of the headcount of extrajuducial killings of indigenous peoples. There is no end to the military's brutality against the indigenous peoples and the Filipino people fighting for their rights. We condemn the massacre of the Ligiw family, and demand the pullout of the military in indigenous communities in Abra," Malayao said.
KAMP says that the Ligiw massacre raised the killings of indigenous peoples to 43 under President Aquino's administration. Earlier this year, Lumad leader Rolando Ambongan, a datu (village chief) in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte was slain, his killing is attributed to paramilitary group Bagani Force and Cafgu under the 29th IBPA. Ambongan was a staunch-anti-mining plunder activist, who resisted the entry of mining in their ancestral lands. Ambongan is a member of progressive indigenous peoples' party, Katribu Partylist.
The Ligiws were also active members of activist organizations, says KAMP. Fermin is a member of activist group Anakbayan. All three are members of KASTAN (Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin ti Nagtaudan), the provincial chapter of Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in Abra.
"Like other indigenous peoples slain before them, the Ligiw family has gained the ire of the military because of their political affiliations and involvement in anti-mining plunder, and anti-militarization campaigns in the province. The killings of activists like themselves are no news in the Aquino admininstration, who had cradled impunity so well," Malayao said.
KAMP has organized the Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples Network in 2011, in response to the "unabated killings of indigenous peoples."
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