By DEE AYROSO
Private security guards of a disputed ranch in Bukidnon shot dead a Lumad peasant, and wounded two others, a regional Lumad group said.
Tata Baito, a member of the Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (Tindoga) was shot dead in Butong village, Quezon town, reportedly by the private guards of Pablo “Poling” Lorenzo at 9 a.m., March 24, while he was with other Tindoga members on their way to cultivate plots.
His companions Japsem Bagna and Ricky Tumbaga were wounded.
Jomorito Goaynon, chair of the regional Lumad organization Kalumbay in Northern Mindanao Region said in statement that two groups of Tindoga members were fired at separately by Lorenzo’s guards.
“As the Lumads were on their way to the site, an estimated 20 to 30 armed men and security guards of Pablo Lorenzo open fired at them. Meanwhile, Baito, together with Bagna and Tumbaga were on their way to the bungkalan when they were “ambushed”.
The “bungkalan” – the Filipino word for “cultivation” – is a peasant initiative to reassert their right to the land. Goaynon said that Tindoga had mobilized some 200 individuals for the “bungkalan” since March 16.
Tindoga is composed of Manobo-Pulangihons who had been displaced after government leased the land to Lorenzo. Tindoga is claiming 630 hectares, most of which is covered by the Rancho Montalvan Inc., whose lease with government expired in 2009.
The bungkalan was meant to plant food crops in preparation for the mild El Niño phenomenon, Goaynon said.