PHILIPPINES: Another peasant leader shot dead in Bukidnon

On 5 February 2014, Julieto Lauron was driving a motorcycle and accompanied by Nermie Lapatis. They were on their way to the village of Hindangon, Valencia City, when two unidentified men riding a red motorcycle overtook them, blocked their way and immediately opened fire on Lauron and Lapatis.
Lauron was struck on the neck, chest and stomach and died on the spot while Lapatis was hit in her right knee. The assailants quickly escaped.
A few days earlier, Lauron was elected Chairperson of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma (KASAMA or Association of Farmers)-Vintar Chapter, Valencia City, a local chapter of the farmers association. The assembly was also attended by Lapatis and several other officials of Kasama-Valencia. At the assembly two unidentified men were seen taking pictures of the participants.
At the time of writing, Lapatis remains at a hospital in Valencia City and is scheduled for surgery on her knee.
Lapatis and her family had moved in to Valencia City from Magkalungay village in San Fernando town, Bukidnon because of threats to her life. She was an organiser among the indigenous peoples in Bukidnon. She actively campaigned against the entry of large-scale mining companies in the town. Her pro-people activities earned the ire of the military and paramilitary groups. She reported several incidents of harassment by the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR); and the 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
In Valencia, Lapatis continued her work helping several farmers in the different villages as secretary of Kasama – Valencia City chapter.
In October 2012, Kasama-Valencia and Kasama-Bukidnon launched a successful campaign for the increase of daily wages of farm workers – from the daily wage of PhP 125 per day to PhP 150 to 200.