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Killing of Philippine rights activists sparks outrage

Legislators announce probe into slayings of two activists on a fact-finding mission

Killing of Philippine rights activists sparks outrage

Rights groups in the Philippines decry an attack on a 30-member fact-finding mission Nov. 28 in the central Philippines that led to the killing of two rights workers and the injuring of one youth leader. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

December 4, 2017

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Philippine legislators announced a probe on Nov. 30 into the recent murders of rights workers during a fact-finding mission on the central Philippines island of Negros.

Faith and rights groups also demanded swift action from police to arrest the killers of Elisa Badayos, coordinator of rights group Karapatan, and peasant-activist Elioterio Moises.

Gunmen killed the pair on Nov. 28 in Bayawan City. They were on their way to a local police station to report attempts by armed men to block a team investigating reports of landowners harassing poor people. Another member of the team, a coordinator of the youth political party, Kabataan, was injured in the attack.

Rep. Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, the political party of workers and peasants, and youth Rep. Sarah Elago said they would push congressional leaders for an expanded probe, to include 48 other cases of political extra-judicial killings.

Karapatan said the Nov. 28 twin slayings bring to 104 the number of political activists killed during President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

Duterte vowed last week that a crackdown on "terrorists" would include members of legal groups suspected to be fronts for the underground National Democratic Front (NDF).

He issued the threat after scrapping peace talks with the NDF on Nov 22.

"The attack on human rights defenders are becoming more rampant, more brutal, more fearless," said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

Irma Balaba of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines urged Duterte to stop his crackdown against unarmed activists.

"You do not kill people for dissenting against unjust policies," Balaba told ucanews.com. 

 

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