At around 9:00 AM today, March 24, Tata Baito a member of TINDOGA, an indigenous organization in Bukidnon, was killed after being shot by the security personnel of landlord Pablo “Poling” Lorenzo. Two others, Japsem Bagna and Ricky Tumbaga are badly wounded as bullets grazed their upper bodies.
The victims were members of the Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (TINDOGA), an organization of Pulangihon Manobo who are recognized as legitimate claimants of MONTALVAN Ranch in Quezon Bukidnon as part of their ancestral domain.
Currently locked in a web of land dispute, the land has been claimed by 7 other groups. TINDOGA, together with 200 individuals from 4 other groups, were conducting a “Bungkalan” (tilling of land), a type of protest to re-assert their claims to the land, since March 16, 2015. As the Pulangihon Manobo were on their way to the site of the “Bungkalan”, an estimated 20-30 armed men and security guards of Pablo Lorenzo opened fire at them. Meanwhile Baito, together with Bagna and Tumbaga were on their way to the site when they were “ambushed”.
The protesting Pulangihon Manobo could not do anything but scamper in different locations as members of the armed security group of Lorenzo wielded and fired garand and armalite rifles and shotguns. Bae Jocelyn Agdahan of TINDOGA said that the shooting is only a recent incident in a long series of harassments done by Pablo Lorenzo to wrestle control of the land from the Lumads. This is the fifth case of assault perpetrated by Lorenzo but it is only this time that a life of their member was lost.
Bae Jocelyn adds that one of the reason why they were forced to conduct the “Bungkalan” because they had to plant additional food stuffs in preparation for the “mild el nino” phenomenon currently being experienced by the region.
As of this writing, the incident was reported to local police however no arrest was made.
For Reference: Jomorito G. Goaynon Chairperson Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization