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August 1, 2008

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In a span of four months, two innocent farmer-hunters were killed by the elements of the 21st and the 77th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) in Kalinga.

The latest incident involved a Barangay Kagawad of Upper Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga who was summarily executed by the elements of the 21st and the 77th IBPA.

Based on the interviews conducted by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)-Kalinga with the family and the residents of Upper Uma, that on July 20, 2008, Brgy, Kagawad, Rocky "Ungki" Aboli, went to his farm in Mt. Bulos, Duyaas, Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga to guard his crops from wild animals.

On the same day at around 4:15 in the afternoon, community folks heard gunshots at the area where the victim headed. The residents send five youth to check the incident but were not allowed by the AFP saying that Rocky is safe and that he is being fed.

On July 21, 2008, members of the Uma tribe mobilized and preceded to the place of incident only to find out that Rocky is lying dead on the ground. Allegedly, the AFP stated that Rocky fired to their direction first before they shot him to death.

In a press release issued by the 5th Infantry Division based in Upi, Gamu, Isabela even claimed that Rocky was killed during an encounter between the government troops and the New Peoples Army (NPA).

Earlier, on April 4, 2008, the same company was involved in a killing of another innocent farmer-hunter in Mabongtot, Lubuagan, Kalinga. Rey "Aginawang" Logao and another companion were on their way to get some cows in their pastureland in Mabongtot, to be butchered during a wake of their neighbour, when they encountered around 15 to 21 members of the 21st and 77th IB based at Bantay, Tabuk City headed by 2nd Lt. Aris Apduhan. Rey was shot when he tried to put his hand on air.

The CHRA strongly denounce the on going atrocities, gross violations of indigenous peoples and collective rights being perpetrated by the 21st and 77th IBPA against innocent civilians in Kalinga and in the region. The victims should be given justice and the perpetrators must be punished.

Since 2002, at least 13 civilians were killed at the hands of the State through its armed forces. All these victims were falsely accused as combatants and members or supporters of the NPA. .

We, therefore condemn in the strongest terms these military atrocities, the culture of impunity, the killings of innocent civilians.

Until justice is not served and human rights violations continue, the people will persist and pursue to struggle for genuine peace and social justice

Then, the ouster of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be a victory in our human rights struggle.

Jude Baggo
Secretary General

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