Philippines: indigenous activist killed in the latest of a series of deadly attacks
An indigenous activist has been shot and killed by masked, motorcycle-riding attackers, according to an indigenous peoples’ organization.
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) condemned the slaying of Rabenio Sungit, an indigenous Palaw’an leader. Sungit was shot twice with a .45 caliber pistol at a public market in Quezon Municipality, Palawan, on September 5.
He was the ninth indigenous activist to be killed in the Philippines during the past year, according to KAMP.
“The method and motive for the killing is consistent. Indigenous peoples are gunned down because of resistance to development projects and political convictions,” Malayao claimed. “It is aimed to terrify people from asserting their rights.”
Abelino Sungit was a well-known leader of the indigenous peoples’ movement in Palawan, an island in the southern Philippines. He was among the critics of mining projects in the southern island where there are a large number of mining applications and operations.
KAMP accused the government of failing to prevent such attacks, and suggested that state-aligned forces were behind the killings.
“The killing of Rabenio Sungit is an outrage, it makes plain that the culture of impunity is perpetrated by the Aquino government and its military,” Malayao said.
Shortly before his death, members of the Philippine Marines frequently visited Sungit’s residence asking about his whereabouts, family members told KAMP.
Rabenio was the brother of another indigenous leader, Abelino Sungit, who was slain in 2005.
Malayao said the Sungit family’s involvement in social issues, such as destructive mining and human rights led to accusations that members of the family were “communists” or “leftists” – potentially deadly labels in the Philippines, where the government has been fighting a decades-long communist insurgency.
PHOTO: Activists protests outside a recent mining conference in Pasay City, Philippines (KAMP)