Farmer-activist shot dead in ComVal
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte — Gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead a member of a militant farmers’ organization in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, on Thursday, police and activists said.
The victim was identified as Edwin Catog, a farmer and member of the Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Walog Comval (Humawac), said Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan Southern Mindanao.
Senior Supt. Armando de Leon, Compostela Valley police chief, confirmed the incident but did not provide details, saying he has not received a report from Pantukan police station.
The 45-year old Catog was standing at the side of the road to buy fish at Barangay (Village) Fuentes when shot several times by an unidentified man riding a white motorcycle driven by another person, Henry Buscayno, Catog’s colleague, said.
“He was rushed to a hospital here in Pantukan but died shortly after,” Buscayno said, adding the assailants then fled in an unknown direction.
Apiag, the rights group spokesperson, said Catog had been the leader of farmers from Pantukan who trooped to Madaum, Tagum City to support agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) protesting against banana giant Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC) last year.
Activists suspected the attack could be the handiwork of the Philippine Army’s 46th Infantry Battalion as the XR motorcycle allegedly used in Thursday’s incident had been seen parked inside the army’s camp.
De Leon, the Compostela Valley police chief, said an investigation into the killing, has started. SFM/rga