Killing of church worker in front of grandchildren alarms Kidapawan bishop
The bishop of the Diocese of Kidapawan yesterday condemned the murder last week of a social action worker of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Cotabato.
Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo expressed alarm that even a Church worker serving the poor had fallen victim to such killings.
Wilerme Agorde, 64, was stabbed and then shot dead in front of his grandchildren by unidentified assailants on Feb. 19 in President Roxas, North Cotabato.
The peasant leader worked as project coordinator of the agrarian reform program of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa).
“We condemn the many extrajudicial killings happening today which have become so common,” Bagaforo said in a statement on the CBCP news website.
Nassa described Agorde as a longtime Church worker, serving as a lector and basic ecclesiastical community coordinator.
“We vehemently condemn the heinous murder of one of our dedicated human rights workers. With the family of Tatay Wiling (Agorde), we demand justice,” the CBCP’s social action arm said in a statement.
Agorde, along with other farmers, have been struggling for decades for ownership of an unused 5,000-hectare agricultural land reservation in Arakan.
The property is owned by University of Southern Mindanao, but 1,000 ha was allocated to Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology.
The Nassa urged the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to finalize their negotiation to distribute the land reservation occupied by the farmers in the area.
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