Leader of farmers’ group shot dead in Quezon
LUCENA CITY- A leader of farmers’ group in Quezon province was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman on Tuesday in Sariaya town, police said on Wednesday.
Police said Gaudencio Rama, president of Samahan ng Malayang Pamumuhay (Samapa), an organization affiliated with the party-list group Akbayan, was aboard his motorcycle when attacked in Sitio Ilaya in Barangay Canda on Tuesday morning.
Rama died from bullet wounds in the face and abdomen.
In a statement, Akbayan said Rama and other Samapa leaders had received death threats.
It said the attack came a month after the murder of Lito Casallia, a farmers’ group leader in Calatagan town in Batangas province.
“These murders, together with the murders of labor leaders in Cebu [province] and Metro Manila over the past months, demonstrate that change has not come for the poor and marginalized communities fighting against oligarchic greed,” Akbayan said in the statement.
“Instead, what we see is a continuation, if not exacerbation of impunity in the face of lawless violence that targets poor activists who are merely trying to assert their and their families’ right to live decent lives,” it added.
Jojo Clavo, leader of Ugnayan ng Magsasaka sa Gitnang Quezon (Ugnayan) based in Sariaya town, said Rama was among the leaders of protests against the operation of a poultry farm in their village.
He said Rama had criticized the government for its failure to release the multibillion-peso coconut levy fund and the delay in the implementation of land reform program in Sariaya.
Supt. Hermogenes Cabe, Sariaya police chief, appealed to Rama’s family to coordinate with the investigation.
“The family won’t allow us to scan the cellular phone of the victim to provide us with valuable information,” he told the Inquirer by telephone.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.