CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 Sept) — A leader of the Higaonon tribe who is a staunch anti-mining activist was gunned down by unidentified assailants while riding home on a motorcycle in the hinterland village of Tuburan, this city Saturday afternoon, police said.
Senior Inspector Allan Engracia Curato , commander of the Lumbia police station said the 64-year old Fausto Orasan, also known as “Datu Sandigan,” succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds at the back of his body.
“It resulted to his instantaneous death. We found him and his motorcycle lying on the right side of the road,” Curato said in a report.
Curato said empty shells of the 30-caliber M1 Garand rifle and 12-gauge shotgun were found at the scene, indicating that the victim was shot four times by two or more assailants.
City Environment officer Edwin Dael said the death of Orasan, a staunch anti-mining and anti-illegal logging advocate, was a great loss to their campaign to preserve the remaining forests in the city’s hinterlands.
“Datu Sandigan was the moral force why the Higaonons did not join the illegal miners and loggers in the hinterland. He was the soul of our forests,” Dael said.
Dael said Orasan was going to attend a meeting in the city and as usual , rode on his red motorcycle when he was waylaid.
He said a team of Army soldiers from the 43rd Civil Military Operations Company responded to the scene in Sitio Olangon, Barangay Tuburan and reported the crime to the police.
Dael said this is the second time that an attempt was made on Orasan’s life. He said Orasan was also ambushed last year but survived.
Orasan earlier gave up the chance to serve as representative of the IPs in the Cagayan de Oro City Council in favor of another Datu, explaining this would unite the Higaonons in the city instead of divide them into two factions. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)