Justice for Bae Milda!
26 August 2020
We are enraged with the news of the brutal murder of Philippine tribal leader Bae Merlin Ansabu Celis (Bae Milda Ansabo in other reports) last Sunday. According to reports, four unknown men shot her, slashed her throat, and removed her eyes with a machete.
Bae Ansabu Celis is an indigenous Lumad-Manobo leader from Barangay Mahongkog, Magpet, North Cotabato in the Philippines. She is an active advocate for the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) culture and ancestral domain at her village in the face of continued illegal logging.
Magpet town in North Cotabato lies on the foothills of Mt. Apo, mountainous terrain, rich agricultural lands, and rivers. DOLE Stanfilco growing Cavendish bananas (exported to Middle East countries and Central Asia countries like China, Singapore) covers the largest plantation area in the municipality.
The string of murder of human rights workers, land defenders, IP leaders, advocates, and activists in the Philippines must stop!
The brutal killing of Bae Merlin Ansabu Celis, the murder of rights workers Zara Alvarez, Randall Echanis, among many unsolved killings of activists, expose President Duterte’s “war against dissent.” This proves wide criticism of the Anti-Terrorism Act which is another criminal weapon that foster a culture of impunity.
We hold the Duterte regime, State authorities, and the armed forces accountable for failing to serve justice to any of the growing lists of extrajudicial killings in the country. Rather, the Philippine government has been the number one vilifier of human rights, IP rights, and environment defenders against plunder and exploitation.
It is both urgent and crucial for international actions to expedite mechanisms to investigate and condemn the alarming human rights the situation in the Philippines. To truly protect and defend the lives and rights of IP communities and activists from the murderous regime means making it answerable to its gross rights violations.
The death of another defender is one too many. Demand for justice now!
#StopTheKillings #DefendAncestralLands #ReclaimTheFuture
Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator
International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation
Quezon City, Philippines