By Reynard Magtoto
While Lumad students and tribal leaders are still conducting Lakbayan 2017 in Metro Manila to call an end to militarization and Martial law, military elements killed a lumad student, September 5, after a shooting incident in a Davao del Norte town.
National minorities mark Obillo Bay-ao’s death with rage. It is another testimony to the mounting crimes of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration against them.
Obillo Bay-ao, 19, was a grade six student of Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC-Dulyan) according to Save Our Schools Network (SOS).
Bay-ao sustained serious gunshot wounds and was rushed to the hospital few hours after he the shooting incident but, declared dead by Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City at 9 pm.
The national minorities—the Moro and indigenous peoples—are the hardest hit by Duterte’s martial law and all-out war at present. There are at least 29 documented victims of extrajudicial killings among the national minorities from June 2016 to June 2017, excluding those killed in the Marawi siege.
“Our people are being killed, harassed, and almost wiped out by state attacks,” said Datu Jerome Succor Aba, chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro and co-chairperson of Sandugo.
According to SOS, members of a Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and paramilitary group Alamara were behind the shooting incident which took place at around 2:30 pm.
SOS expressed rage and condemnation over the recent killing of a Lumad student by identified state forces in Talaingod, Davao del Norte despite attempts to save his life after a shooting incident.
According to Rius Valle of SOS Network Mindanao, Bay-Ao was mercilessly killed by cousins Ben and Joven Salangani in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod.
Ben Salangani is an active member of Citizen Auxiliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) while Joven Salangani is a known member of paramilitay group Alamara. Joven is also responsible for the killing of Alibando Tingkas, 15 year old student of Salugpongan, last 2015 according to Valle.
Valle highlighted that Bay-ao was among the 200 evacuees who fled homes last July following the threat of Alamara to burn down Salugpongan. In August, evacuees went back to their community.
Sandugo called for the punishment of Bay-ao’s killer and the disbandment of the notorious paramilitary group even as it holds the US-Duterte regime accountable for the escalation of attacks against the national minorities as part of its all-out war and counterinsurgency policies and martial law declaration.
During their second assembly, Sandugo indicted the US-Duterte for the intensifying fascist attacks against the national minorities and the worsening landgrab and plunder of resources in ancestral lands and territories, which may now lead to ethnocide.
“The President—who earlier recognized and promised to correct the hundreds of years of injustice against the national minorities—now embodies national oppression, which has caused the injustices to and oppression of the national minorities,” Sandugo’s declaration stated.
Eule Rico Bonganay, secretary General of Salinlahi Alliance for Childrens Concerns and lead convener of Save Our Schools Network said that the incident occurred after President Duterte threatened to bomb Lumad schools in Mindanao.
“Soldiers are highly motivated by Duterte to sow fear and terror among Lumad communities and even learning institutions intended for children,” Bonganay emphasized.
Bay-ao was killed just four days after the second anniversary of Lianga Massacre wherein Executive Director of Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) was killed together with two other Lumad leaders. This also coincided with the death of Salugpongan Executive Director Ronnie Garcia who died due to sickness. (BaretangBikolnon.com)