We as Filipinos and Filipino Americans utterly condemn the killing of Renato Anglao, a 42 year old Lumad indigenous leader of the Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (TINDOGA), an indigenous peoples’ organization of the Manobo Pulang-ihon in Brgy. Botong, Quezon, Bukidnon.
TINDOGA has been fighting the expansion of big cattle ranchers and pineapple plantations in their ancestral lands, including the Del Monte corporation. The people of TINDOGA have held strong to defend their communities despite harassment, threats, and political killings by the Philippine military and mercenaries hired by cattle ranchers and plantation owners.
From August 3-7 2015, we were part of a contingent of Filipino American youth from the Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network along with Philippine college students from the Mindanao State Institute of Technology that joined the International Solidarity Mission to visit the TINDOGA community. Through this fact-finding mission, we were able to gain a better understanding of the environmental struggles affecting the Lumad people. We witnessed firsthand how these communities have worked collectively to defend themselves against environmental plunder, displacement, and militarization. We were hosted by various Lumad leaders and families of TINDOGA, including Renato Anglao and his family.
On February 3, at 11:00am, Renato was assassinated while on his way home after buying school supplies in the town center. He was aboard his motorcycle with wife and child, when another motorcycle with three unidentified men wearing bonnets/masks drove to their side and shot him twice—once in the head and once in the chest. Renato was killed instantly and the three assassins quickly sped away.
Renato was a loving husband and father to six children. Although there were times that we had a language barrier, he made sure that we understood their lifelong struggle and their hopes for a safer and secured life. Not only did he teach us how to clear weeds out of sugarcane fields or how to plant seedlings, but he also taught us the importance of community, culture and identity. Renato was set to become a tribal chieftain but wanted to prepare for the responsibilities that come with the title. With him we lost a compassionate leader, but his fight and vision will continue on.
As Filipinos in America we often struggle with discrimination, lack of resources, and a disconnect with our culture and history. This solidarity mission taught us that our struggles are linked to the historic struggle of the Filipino people who are fighting for a Philippines that is truly democratic and free.
We strongly condemn extrajudicial killings, landgrabbing, and environmental degradation as well as the overall oppression of Lumad indigenous people and other staunch defenders of land, the environment, and human rights.
We demand that the Philippine government investigate the killings of Lumad leaders and civilians. We demand that justice be served for Renato Anglao!
Stop Lumad Killings! Justice for Renato Anglao!
06 February 2017
· Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network & International Solidarity Missioners 2015
· Loi Almeron, Berkeley, World Student Christian Federation - North America
· Alex Montances, Long Beach, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns - SoCal
· Ryth Mendez, San Diego, Anakbayan San Diego
· Megan Foronda, Los Angeles, GABRIELA Los Angeles