STATEMENT | Justice for Obello Bay-ao!
Today, September 5, 2021, marks the fourth death anniversary of Obello Bay-ao, a Manobo from Talaingod, Davao Del Norte, who was brutally killed by members of the paramilitary group Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in 2017. According to reports, two CAFGU members assailed Bay-ao while he was on his way home from their farm. The then 19-year-old Manobo was rushed to the hospital but later on, declared dead.
The Panaghiusa Philippine Network is one with Indigenous Peoples (IP)’s rights defenders across the country in calling for justice for Bay-ao. His case is not an isolated case. Bay-ao’s killing, together with hundreds of cases of killings of IPs and innocent people were manifestations of the state’s systematic attacks against its people.
We condemn the continuing state-sponsored attacks against the Filipino people. A state force killed Bay-ao’s dream of becoming an engineer and serving his community. This merciless and brutal act ignited not only his community’s aspiration for justice but also the call of all human rights defenders to end the culture of violence across the country.
We urge everyone to join the call for justice for Bay-ao and all victims of state-sponsored violence. We challenge all human rights defenders and advocates to stand with our IPs in their continuing struggle for the defense of their land, life, and resources.
Today, we mourn. This same day, we fight. #