By NORWIN GONZALES
BAGUIO CITY — A known indigenous people’s leader in Tinoc, Ifugao was killed by suspected state military agents assigned to a hydropower project in Tinoc on March 2, Friday.
Before his killing, suspected hired goons of the mini hydro project and CAFGUs visited Ricardo Mayumi’s house several times asking his family members for his location.
According to the Ifugao Peasant Movement, Mayumi resided in Binablayan, Tinoc until recently when he had received death threats prompting his move to Ambabag, Kiangan, where he was killed.
Ten members of the IPM, including Mayumi received death threats using the picture of the gamong, the Ifugao burial blanket from suspected members of the State security forces.
Mayumi was known for being consistently assertive with his stance against destructive energy projects such as the Ayala-headed Quad river and Sta. Clara mini hydro power plants in Tinoc. He was one with the Kalanguya people of Tinoc in successfully opposing and stalling these projects.
Mayumi attended political prisoners court hearings with William Bugatti, then IPM’s Human Rights Officer. When Bugatti was gunned down after a court hearing, Mayumi was one of the first respondents who stayed with Bugatti’s body while the family was being contacted.
In a statement, the Ifugao Peasant Movement said that Mayumi joined several dialogues with the NCIP, DENR, and with officials like Representative Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao. He stood his ground in defending the ancestral land and was repaid with death threats through calls and text messages.
Baguilat, a member of the House Committee on Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples, filed a resolution for a congressional inquiry on the killing and has expressed concern in the “growing number” of killings, harassment, threats and vilification on indigenous peoples in the country.
“We call on our kakailian and peace-loving individuals to condemn the killing of Mayumi and join us in seeking justice for Mayumi and all victims of human rights violations. Together let us rise up to fight tyranny and put an end to extrajudicial killings and the culture of impunity that reigns in the country,” said a statement by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.
“It is deplorable that the impunity against environmental defenders remain unaddressed by the Duterte government to date. An independent and impartial investigation should immediately be conducted on the murder of Mayumi,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).
Kalikasan PNE also recorded 159 cases of environment-related killings since 2001. On average, killings under the previous Arroyo administration reached almost four cases per year, while the Aquino administration averaged almost 10 killings per year. The first year under the Duterte administration peaked at 24 killings per year, six times more than the rate under Arroyo. Not a single case of environment-related killing has been effectively resolved to date.
This makes the Philippines the 2nd deadliest country for environmental defenders. # nordis.net