We condemn in the strongest terms the killing of one of our own–Ka Moises Fuentes
The murder of Fuentes is a great loss in the agrarian sector specifically in advancing the rights and welfare of farmers in Bukidnon.
Ka Moises , a member of Human Rights Defenders Pilipinas-Bukidnon chapter and a local leader of a farmers organization was gunned down by an unidentified assailant in his residence in Barangay Kuya, Maramag, Bukidnon on June 16, 2012 at about 1:00pm. He sustained five (5) gunshot wounds which caused his instant death.
Witnesses said that the assailant was wearing blue jeans with a light green jacket and a hat. They added that the perpetrator is medium built, with brown complexion and in his middle 30’s. A few months prior to the killing, Ka Moises and his colleagues received death threats supposedly in relation to their active involvement in the farmers’ struggle for land reform.
On February 22, 2010, the Office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has distributed a total of fifty (50) hectares to the farmer-beneficiaries. One of the recipients includes Kuya Christian Farmers Association which was led by Ka Moises. They were awarded a total of 9.8 hectares.
Ka Moises’ group encountered harassments from security personnel employed by Ocaya Ranch – a private claimant of the disputed land. Eventually, the petitioners left the area to avoid confrontation and physical harm.
On December 18, 2011 the farmer-beneficiaries were reinstalled by the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) of the Department of Agrarian Reform and then later on settled in the area.
It is clear that the responsibility for the killing lies with the present regime. It is duty-bound to stop extra judicial killings. It can only be so if it accepts the realities that human rights violation in the country is extensive and that clear programs and mechanisms must be instituted to resolve it.
Fuentes’ case is directly tied to land claims. Even as the issue is legally awarded to farmer-beneficiaries, the death of Ka Moises proves it is far from over. The dispute remains and shall not stop unless the government rid off with finality unscrupulous desire of people who amass wealth for their own. As primarily obligated by various international human rights norms, the government must not renege of protecting its people from parties that seek to violate or abuse rights. Its duties do not stop at granting certificates of land ownership to farmers. It is eternally bind to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of its people against itself, its apparatuses and against third party entities.
Stop the killings!
Justice for Ka Moises Fuentes!
Protect Human Rights Defenders Now!
20 July 2012
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