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Hundreds attend burial of slain Mangyan leader in Occidental Mindoro

CITY OF CALAPAN – More than 500 members of the Mangyan community gathered to pay their last respects to slain leader Felix Agustin, who was buried in a simple ceremony in Magsaysay town, south of Occidental Mindoro on Wednesday afternoon.

Board Member Juanito Lumawig, representative of the indigenous peoples in Occidental Mindoro, said that despite their fear because the suspected gunmen of Felix Enano Agustin, 45, were still at large, many of them still attended the burial in Sitio Bamban, Barangay Nicolas at noontime.

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Agustin, also called Padi, was shot to death by two unidentified men, a short distance away from their home in Sitio Talayob in Barangay Nicolas on April 10.

He was former chair of the Mangyan people’s organization Hanunuo Gubatnon at Ratagnon (Hagura), and was recently elected chair of Pantribong Samahan sa Kanlurang Mindoro (Pasakami).

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Lumawig said they were seeking for justice for the brutal killing of Agustin.

“He was a great leader committed to ancestral land claims and rights. He is a big loss,” he said in a phone interview with the Inquirer.

According to Lumawig, the killing must have something to do with the Mangyan’s claim for their ancestral domains.

Land dispute

Police said they were also looking into land dispute as motive in the killing.

Senior Insp. Rodrigo Borlado, chief of the Magsaysay police, said the dispute was “to be settled among Agustin and three other people on April 13, with their sitio leader. But (the settlement was) not given due course because Agustin was shot to death.”

Agustin’s brother Tomoy, said they did not know if Agustin had enemies.

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“He was faithful to his duty, mostly voluntary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sr. Aristea Bautista, FMM, who visited Agustin’s family the
day after the killing, said Agustin’s death was a big loss.

“Our appeal is justice for Padi, protection of Hagura leaders and ancestral domain, protection and support for the family he has left behind particularly livelihood,” she said./lb

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TAGS: ancestral domain, Hagura, Hanunuo, Indigenous Peoples, Juanito Lumawig, land dispute, Mangyan, Occidental Mindoro, Pasakami
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