Int’l trade groups condemn killing of Capalla
ILOILO CITY—International fair trade groups have condemned the killing of the head of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC) and expressed support to his family and friends’ quest for justice for him.
Rudi Dalvai, president of the World Fair Trade Organization (WTFO), said he was shocked and saddened by the killing of Romeo Capalla.
“Our dear friend Romeo has given his life fighting for the civil and human rights of small farmers and their families. We are with you in this time of deep sorrow and hope that the death of Romeo will be given legal justice,” he said in a letter to the PFTC.
The Netherlands-based WTFO is the global organization of more than 200 fair trade groups including producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers.
In a statement posted on their websites, the Altromercato consortium, Italy’s leading fair trade organization and the Assemblea Generale Italiana Del Commercio Equiu E Solidale (Association of Fair Trade Organizations in Italy or Agices) also condemned Capalla’s killing and voiced support for his family and those being served by the PFTC.
Unidentified men gunned down Capalla on March 15, in front of the public market of Oton town in Iloilo, about 7 kilometers south of Iloilo City.
Policemen, who were in the municipal police station 50 meters from the market, failed to catch the gunmen who fled on motorcycles along with several others believed to be lookouts.
Capalla, 65, and younger brother of Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, was chair of the PFTC and had served as its manager for 12 years.
Investigators have still not identified the assailants and determined the motive of the killing but militant groups have accused “death squads” operated by the military as behind the killing especially because Capalla has been repeatedly tagged as a top leader of the New People’s Army.
This allegation has been repeatedly denied by military officials who have offered help in investigating the killing.
In its statement, the Altromercato and Agices said Capalla’s killing was the latest in a string of murders that target human and civil rights advocates in the Philippines. They also cited the continued killing of journalists in the country as a sign of impunity.
The Hong Kong-based Fair-and-Healthy of the FM International Resources Ltd. also expressed solidarity with and offered prayer for Capalla’s family.
In a separate letter to the PFTC, the Seoul-based iCOOP Korea said it supports the center in the call to “arrest criminals who have committed atrocious acts.”
Capalla’s remains will be brought to his hometown in Leon, Iloilo on Friday where he will be buried on Sunday after a 10:30 a.m. Mass to be officiated by Archbishop Capalla.
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