Karapatan condemns killings of women peasants, indiscriminate firing vs urban poor group’s office

“Karapatan condemns in strongest terms the recent killings of two women peasant leaders Beverly Geronimo of Agusan del Sur and Carolina Lana of Aurora Province last Sunday, May 27, 2018. Such forms of violence instigated by suspected state agents should stop,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 

Beverly Geronimo, 27, a member of Tabing Guangan Farmers Association and an anti-mining activist, was shot dead at around 12 noon last Sunday, when she, her daughter and two of their relatives were on their way back home in Brgy. Salvacion, Trento, Agusan del Sur. Two unnamed men in civilian clothes fired at them. Geronimo sustained seven gunshot wounds, one in the head, causing her immediate death. Her daughter and relatives survived. 

Geronimo was also a member of the Parents Teachers Community Association (PTCA) of the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) Academy, where her daughter is a student. She has previously experienced threats and harassment, from soldiers - from the 25th, 66th, 67th, and 75th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army - encamped in their community since 2009 due to her anti-mining activism against large scale mining companies such as OZ Metals and Agusan Petroleum. 

Also, from initial reports from Bayan-Central Luzon last Sunday, Carolina Lana, 62, former leader of the Samahan ng mga Magbubukid na Kababaihan sa Aurora, was gunned down by two unnamed men onboard a motorcycle, who stopped by in their store in Brgy. Dianawan, Maria Aurora, Aurora Province. 

On that same day, at around 7:30pm, at least 13 residents of Brgy. Catmon, Malabon City, including urban poor leaders and two minors, were shot at by an alleged gun-for-hire asset of Malabon City Mayor Antolin Oreta III and his companion. According to initial reports of Karapatan Metro Manila, Louie Picardal Mejica (aka Lugaw), a resident of Sitio 6, Brgy. Catmon, Malabon and a suspected goon of Oreta, accompanied by a certain Andrew, fired at least five times at a junk shop which functions as the office of Sandigan ng Maralitang Nagkakaisang sa Dumpsite Catmon Org. Inc. (SMNDC). At least 13 leaders of the organization, led by Madeline Cajipo, and two children of a member were in the said shop.

“While Pres. Duterte rambles on with his sexist and anti-women rhetoric, poor women leaders are being killed in communities, while others face constant threats to their lives. Militarist and brutal ways are being used against them through the implementation of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law,” Palabay said. 

“We call on all women to condemn these latest forms of attacks against women human rights defenders. We should strive to seek justice, amid these difficult times when a macho-fascist President and his ilk violate our most basic rights and human dignity,” Palabay concluded.

For reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 09173162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 09189790580