Monday, October 17, 2011

Human rights alliance condemn killing of Italian priest in North Cotabato

An undated photo of Italian priest Fausto Tentorio from the blog of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

NORTH COTABATO (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 17, 2011) - The human rights network called "End Impunity Alliance," condemned Monday killing of Italian priest Fausto Tentorio in North Cotabato province.

Tenorio, a known advocate of the rights of lumads and farmers in the province, was shot dead by a lone gunman outside his convent in the town of Arakan.

"We extend our deepest condolences for the love ones of Fr. Tentorio and for all the people whose lives were touched by him. We condemn in highest terms the recent killing of a beloved, committed and pro-poor priest who has served our poor kababayans in Mindanao, despite several threats to his life."

"His public position against big corporate mining in the province and his advocacy for the rights of farmers and indigenous peoples is a testament to his selflessness," Cristina Palabay, End Impunity Alliance convenor, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Tentorio was a compatriot of Rev. Tulio Favali, also an Italian priest, who was murderd in 1985 in Tulunan town by the vigilante group called Ilaga, led by Norberto Manero.

Tentorio experienced a near-death experience on October 6, 2003 during one of his visits to the Lumads of Kitaotao, Bukidnon, portions of which are part of the parish of Arakan, where he had organized the tribal organization called the Tinananon-Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa or TIKULPA.

The killing of the priest came after the declaration of Major General Jorge Segovia, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, that Southern Mindanao is the new epicenter of the New People’s Army rebels.

“Justice should be immediately rendered for Fr. Tentorio and all victims of summary executions. Such climate of impunity exists to this day, thus victimizing anti-mining advocates such as Fr. Tentorio because of the non-prosecution of those accountable for the previous cases of human rights violations and the existing counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayamihan of the Aquino administration,” Palabay said.

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