Slain activist buried as thousands protest on Human Rights Day in Visayas
CEBU CITY — Slain human rights activist Elisa “Nene” Badayos was buried in this city on Sunday as around 7,300 joined protest actions on Panay Island and Negros Occidental to mark International Human Rights Day.
Relatives, friends and colleagues of Badayos in the afternoon at the Calamba Cemetery after a Mass at the Guadalupe Church.
The funeral march became a protest actions as mourners carried streamers and placards and wore shirts calling for justice for Badayos and Elioterio Moises.
Gunmen shot dead Badayos and Moises and wounded another youth activist on Nov. 28 in Bayawan City in Negros Oriental.
Badayos was Negros Oriental coordinator of the human rights group Karapatan, while Moises was a member of the farmers group Mantapi Ebwan Farmers Association (Mefa).
Badayos and Moises were among the participants of a fact-finding mission investigating alleged cases of rights violations in Negros Oriental when they were attacked.
Karapatan blamed the killings on goons of a land owner involved in a land dispute with farmers.
Jaime Paglinawan, secretary general of Bayan Muna-Central Visayas, said the funeral march was a show for respect for Badayos and to demand justice.
Moises was buried in Bayawan City on Dec. 3, according to Amid Juntilla, Mefa vice chairperson.
Juntilla said they called off a planned protest action in Bayawan on Sunday because farmers were afraid that another attack would happen.
He said protest actions were held in Dumaguete City, the provincial capital.
Meanwhile, in Iloilo City, about 2,500 protesters led by the Movement Against Tyranny and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan joined a program in front of the provincial capitol before marching through the city’s main streets.
They burned an effigy of a two-headed figure with a rifle depicting the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The killing of human rights activists and even a priest and pastor, harassment of the media and journalists and moves to curtail institutions that serve as a check and balance to the President are manifestations of the growing tyrannical rule,” said Reylan Vergara, secretary general of Karapatan-Panay.
Vergara spoke at the rally days after two unidentified men in a motorcycle went to his house in Mandurriao District, apparently checking if he was there.
“I was not there during that time,” Vergara told the Inquirer. “But my mother-in-law monitored the men, who stayed for about 20 minutes near the front of our house. They left when the realized they were also being watched.”
He said his neighbors also reported that unidentified persons had asked for the location of his house.
“There’s an apparent focus on human rights workers and activists who have been vocal against extrajudicial killings of suspected drug personalities, farmers and members of indigenous people’s communities,” he said.
In Roxas City in Capiz, about 1,000 protesters led by Bayan attended a rally at the Roxas City Plaza Bandstand.
About the same number of protesters marched from the provincial capitol to Crossing Banga in the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan.
In Negros Occidental, at least 3,000 members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Negros Occidental held a rally at the public plaza to denounce what they called a “tyrannical rule” of President Duterte.
They marched to the Bacolod public plaza on Sunday afternoon to mark the International Human Rights day as they chanted “Duterte patalsikin, patalsikin, pagbayarin (Duterte kick him out, kick him out, make him pay).”
They then burned effigies of the head of President Rodrigo Duterte atop the body of a dog on a leash held by US President Donald Trump were torched at the Bacolod public plaza on Sunday afternoon.
“Bayan Negros is calling on all Negrenses to stand up and fight back against the tyrannical rule of Duterte, the saboteur of (a) just and peaceful society, the number one violator of human rights, the architect state sponsored terrorism,” its secretary general Michael dela Concepcion said. /atm
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