Lumad leader killed in Baganga

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 June) — A Lumad member of Barug Katawhan, an organization of Typhoon Pablo survivors, was shot dead Thursday evening (June 25) in the veranda of his house

In a statement, Karapatan Southern Mindanao said Ricky Basig, a Mandaya from Sitio Kaputian, Barangay Mahan-ub, became the “45th victim of extrajudicial-killings in Southern Mindanao region under the Aquino administration.”

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said Basig was sitting in his veranda at around 6 p.m. of June 25 when elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion led by a certain Pfc Maca shot him several times.

Suazo said Basig was interviewed by human rights groups during a humanitarian peace mission conducted last May 29 to June 1 in Sitio Kasunugan, Brgy. Mahan-ub in Baganga.

She said Basig “reported three series of incidents where he was vilified by the military,” and that “he was accused as a member of the New People’s Army.”

Suazo added that Basig was accused by members of the Armys’ 67th IB as the one who notified the NPA about the military’s combat operations in the area, which led to an ambush by the NPA last May 22, leaving two casualties on the side of 67th IB.

Basig, she siad, was “repeatedly warned by elements of the 67th IB to watch out, because if they were to be ambushed one more time, he (Basig) would be hurt, as form of retaliation.”

“Handler”

But Lt. Col. Norman Zuniega, spokersperson of the 10th Infantry Division told MindaNews that Felix Basig alias Ricky was a member of the NPA who surrendered to the 67th IB on February 26, 2011, “with his M60 machine gune.”

Zuniega blamed the NPA for Basig’s death. He said Maca could not have killed Basig because he was his handler.

“Hindi po pwede gawin ni Maca kay Basig kasi siya ang handler o liaison kay Basig. Si Maca nakikita kasi na kausap lagi si Basig at siya tinuturo ng mga taga-kaliwa para ma-cover mukha po nila. Marami kasi nagsusurender sa Davao oriental at yan counter action nila” (Maca could not have done that to Basig because Maca is the handler of Basig. Maca is often seen talking with Basig and he was pinpointed by the left to cover their tracks. Many have surrendered in Davao Oriental so that is their coujnter move)l,” Zuniega said.

He added that charges are being filed “against the NPA perpetrators.”

Suazo said that the fact-finding report drafted after the mission by Karapatan-SMR showed that residents are facing difficulties due to the presence of military forces within their communities.

Suazo said the mission team documented cases of “hamletting, different forms of harassments, coercion, vilification, military encampments and attacks on IP-community schools.”

In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate blamed “the continuing state of impunity in the country” as the culprit behind the killing of Basig.

“Bayan Muna strongly condemns the cowardly killing  of Basig. The typhoon Pablo survivors have already suffered hunger, homelessness, and poverty at the wake of the disaster. It is pure cruelty for the military to take away the lives they have managed to keep despite government neglect and ineptness,” Zarate said. (MindaNews)

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