EJK of environmental activist in Ifugao part of a systematic, ongoing campaign vs rights defenders

“The killing of Ricardo Mayumi is part of the military’s systematic efforts to attack and malign activists and human rights defenders (HRDs)involved in campaigns for people’s rights and welfare. The government’s paranoia is further heightened as it fails to deliver basic social services, is involved in massive corruption cases, or are implementing anti-people policies. Instead of resolving these issues, they go the opposite way and respond with repression and rights violations,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.


On the evening of March 2, 2018, Ricardo Mayumi, 52, was shot by two gunmen while the victim was inside his house at Sitio Angadal. Ambabag, Kiangan, Ifugao. According to witnesses, the two assailants entered Mayumi’s house, whereafter four gunshots were heard. Neighbors and relatives attempted to bring the victim to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.  Mayumi was a member of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), an organization known for opposing the hydroelectric power project in Tinoc town, Ifugao province, which is seen as a destructive business enterprise that will result in displacement of and human rights violations against indigenous people in communities.   

IPM has been the subject of various threat, harassment, and intimidation efforts by state agents. In October 2012, the 86th IBPA based in Tinoc, Ifugao released a copy of their so-called “Target List”. Said list contained the names of 28 individuals who are known activists in Ifugao, government employees, and farmers. Among the names listed was that of William Bugatti, leader of IPM and a human rights worker of Karapatan. Bugatti was killed on March 25, 2014.

Threats and harassment against IPM continued online, with pictures of its members circulated online on December 25, 2014 with the following caption: This is why our home is infested with NPA. The picture of Ricardo Mayumi was included in the malicious post.  On February 27, 2015, another online post surfaced, pointing to Mayumi and another IPM leader, Ben Calingayan, as the “NPA leadership in Ifugao” The red-tagging and online harassment continued, with state agents hiding behind dubious Facebook groups made to harass leaders of mass organizations in Ifugao.

On January 20, 2016, an anonymous complaint was submitted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) naming Ricardo Mayumi and farmer Martin Waling in a complaint alleging the two as drug dealers in the area.

“From the time of Aquino to Duterte, from counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan to Oplan Kapayapaan, it remains clear that the attacks on human rights defenders and progressive organization remain a priority for repressive governments. The IPM and indigenous people’s organizations in Ifugao were built on the need for mass campaigns to defend people’s rights and to stop the onslaught and encroachment of foreign companies and anti-people projects that will harm the environment and the indigenous communities. The government and its state forces, as seen in the continued harassment of IPM and its members, continue to be the vanguards of neoliberal projects that completely disregard the welfare of communities,” Palabay explained.

We join the IPM, the family of Mayumi, and the people of Ifugao in their call for justice and accountability. We demand an end to the killings and to the attacks against activists and human rights defenders. In a time of intensified repression and more emboldened, reckless, and trigger-happy state forces, our recourse is to rely on our collective strength to assert our rights and make accountable fasicsts in government who have continued to abuse their power to silence resistance and dissent,” concluded Palabay.