On 25 March, 2014 at 7pm, William Bugatti, a human rights defender and member of a Tuwali tribe in Ifugao province, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen along the Ifugao Highway in Bolog, Kiangan. He was on his way home to his family. He sustained three gunshot wounds.
Photo by Karapatan, Bulatlat
Bugatti was an advocate for his community and the people of Ifugao, most of the people he assists come from the marginalized peasants and farmers, in pursuit of their right to land; and protection of their environment arising from mining activities.
According to the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, prior to Bugatti’s killing, on October 2012 his name appeared in list of targets by the military found in a document, titled “Municipality of Tinoc (Target Persons).” The CHRA has managed to secure a copy of this document.
The two-page document, which bears the logo of the 86th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the 5th Infantry Division, contain names of 28 civilians, their addresses, their organisations or affiliations and their alleged role in the armed struggle. They qualify their involvement, for example, as those included in:
“nagbibigay ng pagkain sa NPA” (gives food to NPA), “tulugan ng NPA ang kanilang bahay” (where members of NPA sleep), “imbakan ng baril” (storage place for guns), “kumander ng NPA” (NPA commander).
In the list, Bugatti was listed at No. 21 and he was described as both a human rights officer and tagged as “utak ng NPA” (brain of the NPA).
At the time of his death, Bugatti was the regional council member of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-KARAPATAN; a regional council member of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) representing the Ifugao Peasant Movement; and was the provincial coordinator of the Bayan Muna Partylist, a political party.