Statement on the killing of Nang Flor Caya in the Philippines

Jueves, 5th Mayo 2011

The Secretariat of the International Land Coalition (ILC) has been informed of the shooting of Florita “Nang Flor” Caya (58), General Manager of a local indigenous peoples’ organization (UTCEL) and Vice-President of a national rural peasant women organization (LAKAMBINI-PAKISAMA Confederation) and wants to express its outrage at such a brutal killing. Nang Flor raised two children by herself and has ten grandchildren.

At 7 PM of April 27, 2011, while tending her store at Monkayo, Compostela Valley, Nang Flor was shot in the back of her head. Witnesses saw a man hurriedly walking away from the store and escaping on a motorcycle driven by another man.

Nang Flor was a newly-elected general manager of Unified Tribal Council of Elders and Leaders (UTCEL), a group of indigenous peoples (Mandaya, Manobo, Mangguangan & Dibabawon) awarded in 2004 by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title covering 30,468 hectares in Monkayo, Compostela Valley. She had received threats since her election a month ago and is the third UTCEL leader to be killed in the last two years.

Nang Flor is also the third leader of PAKISAMA, a national peasant confederation  with presence in 42 provinces in the country, to be gunned down. In the last two and a half year, three leaders – all from Mindanao -  have been killed: Vicente Paglinawan (November 22, 2008) and Ka Rene Peñas (July 5, 2009) were assassinated in their respective villages at the height of a campaign for the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) law. Until now, their killers have not been brought to justice.

The ILC Secretariat has known Nang Flor and PAKISAMA since 2001 through ILC’s Community Empowerment Facility (CEF) programme in which PAKISAMA collaborated with AR Now!, an ILC member, in a project of capacity-building for landless farmers and farm workers in the Philippines. We had the opportunity to meet Nang Flor when she participated in the Farmers’ Forum February 2010 in Rome, Italy.

We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Nang Flor. Those who worked with her will continue to stand for the values and principles of social justice to which she devoted her life.

We join PAKISAMA and the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA)  in calling on the Aquino Government to conduct a speedy, thorough and impartial investigation on the case and to bring the perpetrators of Nang Flor’s killing to justice.