DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 July) – Human rights groups staged an indignation rally Thursday to press the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Davao Region to act on the shooting incident last July 15 involving Lumads, wherein one was killed and another was wounded by armed men riding in tandem on a motorcycle.
Jay Apiag, spokesperson for Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, told MindaNews that some 50 individuals, including foreign delegates of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), gathered outside CHR-11 to protest its silence and inaction.
He said the foreign ICHRP delegates came to observe progress of human rights cases in the country.
He said they were alarmed by the inaction of CHR-11 even a week after the shooting incident that killed Hermie Alegre, officer of the Parent-Teacher Community Association (PTCA) of the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land) Community Learning Center (STTICLC), and wounded Danny Diarog, chieftain of the Bagobo tribe. The latter is now recovering in a hospital.
Apiag refused to disclose the hospital where Diarog is confined due to threats to his life.
The two came from a meeting called for by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Brgy Tagakpan in Tugbok and were on their way home when they were shot by armed men Sitio Kahusayan in Brgy. Manuel Guianga, Davao City around 2 p.m. Friday.
In a statement, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who was acting mayor since July 1 before taking a leave last Wednesday, called on the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) to conduct a thorough investigation
“It is disheartening to note that violence has once again victimized Lumads in Davao. Both victims belong to the Bagobo Klara tribe… Let me extend my condolences to the family of Mrs Alegre, especially to her three children. My prayers and thoughts are with you in this difficult time and moment of sorrow,” he said.
Duterte also urged the people to refrain “from blaming certain individuals or groups or making speculations as these may only stir up more distrust and tension.”
Apiag said the indignation rally on Thursday also marked the opening of a two-day general assembly participated in by around 300 delegates of the ICHRP from different countries including, among others, US, japan, Canada, and Kenya at the Brokenshire Resort Convention Center.
He said they will draft a resolution to human rights violations which will be submitted to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, launch an international campaign, and support the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front.