Bukidnon peasant leader slain

The latest incident of killing of farmers was on June 4. God knows how we prayed hard that the perpetrators be brought to justice and that there be no more such kind of inhumanities in the future.

But what we have now is just a two-month respite from such dastard acts. Yesterday, I was surprised to know that another farmer leader, this time from the Northern Mindanao, was slain to death by two unidentified men. A friend from Makabayan-Pilipinas, a national peasant federation, emailed the following information:

Ka Frank Labial, the Bukidnon SANLAKAS Provincial Chairperson was shot dead inside his house this 6pm, today August 10 in the town of Don Carlos, Bukidnon. Before his untimely demise, Ka Frank was leader of the landless rural poor in asserting their rights over the 2,995 hectares Bukidnon Farms Incorporated (BFI) in Don Carlos, an ill gotten property of the Marcoses. Their struggles dates as far back as 1986 since Ka Frank is one of the farmer beneficiaries ofthe 1988 CARP Law. Ka Frank was instrumental in the setting up of the landless rural poor coalition, CATCH BFI (Coalition of Actual Tillers and CLOA Holder of Bukidnon Farms Incorporated) a coalition of landless peasants, agriworkers and indigenous peoples in Bukidnon last 2006 to consolidate all the rural poor CARP beneficiaries against the entry of Southern Fresh Products of Davao Agricultural Ventures Company(DAVCO) a giant agribusiness corporation owned by the Floriendo family of Davao who are now illegally tilling a huge portion of the BFI. Ka Frank drew the ire of the Floreindo’s and Zubiri’s since he was the one who investigated and gathered data of the complicity of the two big landowners and some armed goons in their latter’s takeover of the Bukidnon Farms Incorporated.

The two assailants on a motorcycle followed Ka Frank who was just coming from the market. Witnesses mentioned that after first volley of fire, Ka Frank was able to run towards his house. The killers followed him and later caught Ka Frank just inside the gate of his house. The killers fired into Ka Frank and left him for dead. The killers used .45 caliber pistol.

Ka Frank was also the provincial vice chairperson of MAKABAYAN-Pilipinas, a nationwide peasant federation. He was also one of the farmer leader representatives in the recently created TASK FORCE ARAD CONCERN BUKIDNON (Task Force Agrarian Reform Ancestral Domain concern Bukidnon. Ka Frank was 59 years old (earlier report stated he was 59 years old). He is survived by his wife, Cathalina Labial and a 14 year old daugther, Anna Flyn.

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