DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – An anti-mining and human rights activist died a day after he was ambushed in Montevista town in Compostela Valley.
Jimmy P. Sayman, a Mandaya farmer from Barangay Ngan in Compostela town, was shot by two unidentified gunmen around 5:45am on Monday.
According to a report released by the Police Regional Office 11, Sayman was riding his motorcycle along the national highway in Purok 6-A, Brgy. San Jose Poblacion in Montevista when the suspects aboard a black motorcycle shot him once.
The assailants escaped towards Compostela town.
Sayman, 48, secretary general of the Comval Farmers Association (CFA), managed to ask for help from the people near the ambush site.
He was brought to Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital where he received initial treatment before he was transferred to Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City, Davao del Norte where he died at 2:20pm Tuesday.
In a statement issued before Sayman died, CFA vice chairperson Noli Villanueva said the group condemned the incident.
He said Saypan stood against the human rights abuses allegedly committed by the 66th Infantry Battalion, and opposed the entry of Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation.
The group renewed its call to President Rodrigo Duterte to pull out the military from their community and hold them accountable for the alleged human rights abuses, among them, the harassment of their leaders.
“It is outrageous that this happened while we are celebrating peasant and indigenous month this October, a peasant and a lumad like Jimmy Saypan who defended his farmland and ancestral land suffered this brutalities. It is also ironic that as the new administration is forwarding peace efforts the AFP officials and personnel in the ground remain to be rabid butchers,” he said.
The group claimed that the attack was “a form of silencing our leader.”
Duterte said on September 22 in Cagayan de Oro City that he wanted the military to take full control of paramilitary units.
“But you know, I have noticed from many reports that the government-backed para-military units are still operating. I am now ordering the Army to take full control itong mga Bagani command,” he said.
He said the presence of the paramilitary groups would undermine the peace process between the government and the National Democratic Front.
“The paramilitary men operating especially with firearms issued by the government that would undermine the peace process and of course, it would be also a crime if you do that, especially a couple na namatay sa Kitaotao (in Bukidnon). Mahinto na sana ito, because we are really trying our best to come up with a—with a peaceful country,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)