“Just as they arrived back in their community (after the barricade last week), Kagawad Jose and all those who participated in the Kampuhan at the DSWD were harassed by the Barangay Captain and the military from the 67th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army. Supposedly, she was on her way to Davao City after the session to report the cases of human rights violations, but she was brutally killed.” – Karapatan–SMR
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – One of the survivors of typhoon Pablo who joined the three-day campout at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office in Davao City was shot dead by an unidentified gunman at around 6 p.m., March 4.
Cristina Morales Jose, a village councilor of Binondo, Baganga municipality, Davao Oriental, was gunned down after attending a barangay session that tackled human rights violations in their area, according to initial reports gathered by Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region.
Jose was also a local leader of Bayan Muna Partylist.
As of press time, Hanimay Suazo, Karapatan-SMR secretary general and other human rights advocates, formed a quick reaction team and are now on their way to Baganga to gather details on the incident.
Suazo said Jose intended to go back to Davao City to complain about the harassment experienced by those who joined the barricades in Montevista, Compostella Valley last January 15 and the camp out at the DSWD regional office last February 25 to 27.
“Just as they arrived back in their community (after the barricade last week), Kagawad Jose and all those who participated in the Kampuhan at the DSWD were harassed by the Barangay Captain and the military from the 67th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army. Supposedly, she was on her way to Davao City after the session to report the cases of human rights violations, but she was brutally killed,” Karapatan-SMR said in a statement.
The protest actions led by Barug Katawhan compelled the DSWD to provide sacks of rice for the survivors of the typhoon.
“We are filled with anger with the killing of Cristina Jose. We condemn those who felled her, in as much as we have condemned the government who further aggravated the suffering of the typhoon victims,” Cristina Guevarra, secretary general of Hustisya, an organization of relatives of victims of human rights violations, said in a statement.
“They demanded food and justice, but they are harassed and even killed. We demand justice for Jose, and to the typhoon survivors who have been resilient against the government’s blatant negligence and ineptitude towards their plight,” Guevarra said.
In a separate statement, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said Jose’s death “clearly illustrates how the Aquino government, through Oplan Bayanihan, is using violence against leaders of successful protests.”
“Instead of addressing the people’s suffering, this government is trying to repress those who stand up to find relief for the people’s suffering,” Elmer Labog, KMU chairman, said.
KMU noted that Jose was killed a few days before the country marks International Women’s Day on March 8.
Meanwhile, Kabataan partylist noted that the incident took place a few days after Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman threatened to file charges against leaders of Barug Katawhan and their “leftist” comrades.
Thousands of Pablo survivors ransacked the DSWD office in Davao City to get much-needed relief.
“Dinky’s insistence on going after the leaders of the Pablo survivors coupled with the militarization in the area, something as terrible as this was bound to happen under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan. This is what the Filipinos can expect from Aquino’s ‘tuwid na daan’ and ‘good governance’” Ridon said.
Labog said the killing of Jose will fail to scare the people of Mindanao into submission and weaken their protests.