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Urgent Appeal: Harassment and Frustrated Killing of Indigenous People Leader
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:35
URGENT APPEAL
April 20, 2015
(PHILIPPINES) Harassment and Frustrated Killing of Indigenous People Leader

ISSUES:  Right to Means of Subsistence, Right to Land
______________________________________________________________________________

Dear friends,

The Medical Action Group (MAG) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the harassment and frustrated killing of indigenous people, Manobo leader in Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

If you wish to make any inquiries, please contact the Medical Action Group (MAG) through e-mail address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call +632 4547513.
______________________________________________________________________________

Title:                    Ampode Harassment and Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing
Case:                  Harassment and Frustrated Extra Judicial Killing
Name of victim:          Nestorio Sulatan Ampode, 36 years old
Date of incident:         October 2, 2014; 8:00 A.M.
Place of incident:         Purok 9, Prakatahan, Brgy, Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon
Perpetrators:    Security Guards of Levelit Balarote Zambrano headed by Marcial Balarote (non-state actor)   
Motive:                             Violation of right to life and right to land
_______________________________________________________________________¬¬¬¬¬¬_______                                

Account of the incident:

Nestorio Sulatan Ampode, 36, a member of Ambugkol Manobo Tribal Association (AMTA), belonging to a Manobo tribe was working in the rice field when he was strafed with bullets allegedly by a group of security guards of Levelit Balarote- Zambrano. The incident reportedly happened on October 2, 2014 at about 8:00 in the morning in Purok 9, Prakatahan, Barangay Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.  

Ampode is an active member of AMTA and a tribal council member of Sitio Prakatahan, Brgy. Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

The above-mentioned area where the reported incident occurred is part of disputed land between indigenous peoples who are AMTA members and a certain Levelit Balarote Zambrano.

Despite previous incidents of harassment and threats against AMTA members by security guards employed by Balarote Zambrano, Ampode and his fellow members of AMTA continue to assert their right and work through the legal process on their ancestral land claim. He serves as an overseer of AMTA while he works on facilitating and processing its Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) claim.

According to Ampode, before the incident, he used to till a parcel of land which he owns. However, the Balarote-Zambrano group prevented him to till his land. He was left with no choice but to work outside his land. While their claim of ancestral land is yet to be settled, Ampode served as a paid farm worker of a certain Danny Tahuyan to raise some income for his family.

On October 2, 2014, Ampode was cultivating the rice field together with Danny Tahuyan when they were approached by Marcial Balarote, a private security guard, and told them to leave the area they were cultivating.

Ampode narrated that he insisted to talk with Balarote but the guard pointed an armalite toward his abdomen. The guard fired his gun. Ampode fell down, but the bullet did not hit him. Balarote and Tahuyan thought that Ampode was already dead. The guard immediately left the area and reportedly went back to their barracks. Ampode said he went home and pretended that nothing happened.

Some AMTA leaders immediately went to the place of incident and recovered empty shells of shot gun in the scene. On the same day at around 10:00 in the morning, the incident was reported by AMTA leaders to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Don Carlos, Bukidnon station for blotter. They submitted the gathered evidences such as empty shell of bullets and Ampode’s shirt which reportedly had gun powder.

In the evening of October 02, 2014, according to Liguria Sagubalan, wife of Ampode, while she and Ampode were in their house, she noticed four unidentified persons roaming around the vicinity of their house reportedly carrying guns. According to Sagubalan, she noticed a gun pointed toward the direction of their door. Ampode remained inside their house.

The Levelit Balarote-Zambrano group wanted Ampode to leave the disputed land as what other members of AMTA did.

Levelit Balarote-Zambrano claimed that they owned the lands being disputed which was already awarded to them by the government through Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP). The Balarote-Zambrano Group had created policies which did not sit well with the indigenous peoples living in the area. Among the policies are restrictions of indigenous peoples to till their own land, and imposed curfew hours until 9:00pm.

The ordinance had created fear among indigenous peoples in the area. Further it has taken its toll on the livelihood and socio-economic activities of indigenous peoples.

Before the incident of strafing on October 2, there was a reported incident of attempted killing on Ampode on September 24, 2014 at about 5:00 in the afternoon while tending to his carabao.

Ampode was shot twice by a certain Richie Lacorte, one of the security guards of Levelita Balarote-Zambrano. Fortunately, Ampode was unharmed. This incident was related to their struggle on their claims for the CADT. The incident was immediately reported by AMTA members to the PNP-Don Carlos, Bukidnon, but full and thorough investigation on the case is yet to be conducted by authorities.

The process of the ancestral domain claim should be sped up to prevent further harassment in the said area. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) continues to act with impunity. Ampode said the effect of NCIP’s inactions not only deprives the members of Manobo communities affected by the unlawful claim of Balarote-Zambrano to their rights to ancestral domain and means of subsistence but that of the entire indigenous peoples within the CADT area.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please write letters to express your concern about the present situation of Nestorio Ampode and AMTA members. In your letters, kindly call the authorities to investigate the harassment and frustrated killing of Ampode by private security guards of Balarote-Zambrano, to order the withdrawal of private security guards from the Manobo’s ancestral domain and cancel the issued COSLAP’s decision to Balarote-Zambrano, and urge concerned agencies like the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to immediately resolve their case and issue their CADT.

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear ____________,

I am writing to draw your attention regarding the case of an indigenous people leader, Nestorio Sulatan Ampode from Purok 3 Prakatahan, Brgy. Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon who was harassed and intimidated by non-state actors led by Levelita Balarote-Zambrano.

I have learned that while Ampode was working in the rice field in Purok 3 Prakatahan in Brgy. Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon, at around 8:00 am of October 02, 2014, a private security guard of Levelita Balarote-Zambrano told him to stay away.

On October 2, 2014, Ampode was cultivating the rice field together with Danny Tahuyan when they were approached by a private security guard, Marcial Balarote.

Ampode narrated that he insisted to talk with Balarote but the guard pointed an armalite toward his abdomen. The guard fired his gun. Ampode fell down, but the bullet did not hit him. Balarote and Tahuyan thought that Ampode was already dead. The guard immediately left the area and reportedly went back to their barracks. Ampode said he went home and pretended that nothing happened.
Some AMTA leaders immediately went to the place of incident and recovered empty shells of shot gun in the scene. On the same day at around 10:00 in the morning, the incident was reported by AMTA leaders to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Don Carlos, Bukidnon station for blotter. They submitted the gathered evidences such as empty shell of bullets and Ampode’s shirt which reportedly had gun powder.

The process of the ancestral domain claim should be sped up to prevent further harassment in the said area. NCIP continues to act with impunity. Ampode said the effect of NCIP’s inactions therefore not only deprives the members of Manobo communities affected by the unlawful claim of Balarote-Zambrano to their rights to ancestral domain and means of subsistence but that of the entire indigenous peoples within the CADT area.

Therefore, I humbly urge you to initiate a probe into the said case so that appropriate action be done accordingly.

I urge the authorities to investigate the harassment and frustrated killing of Ampode by private security guards of Balarote-Zembrano, to order the withdrawal of private security guards from the Manobos’ ancestral domain and cancel the issued COSLAP’s decision to Balarote-Zembrano, and urge concerned agencies like the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to immediately resolve their case and issue their CADT.

I look forward to your urgent action.


Respectfully yours,

_________________________


PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

Include Provincial Governor Zubiri
PNP Region 10 Regional Director
NCIP Regional Director, Region X

Please send your letters to:

1.    Hon. Benigno C. Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace
JP Laurel St. San Miguel, Manila
Philippines 1005
Fax: +632 736-10-10
Tel: +632 735-62-0 / 564-14-51 to 80
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
2.    Police Director General
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +632 724-87-63 / +632 723-04-01
Tel: + 632 726-43-61 / +632 436-68-76
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

3.    Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines
Fax: +632 929-01-02
Tel: +632 928-56-55, +632 926-61-88
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it     

4.    Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Philippines, 1100
Fax: +632 925-03-32
Tel: +632 925-00-30, +632 925-03-31
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

5.    Attorney Leonor Quintayo
Chairperson
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
2/ N. dela Merced Bldg. cor. West and Quezon Ave.
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. +632-373-9787
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:37
 

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