MANILA, Philippines — A 19-year-old Lumad student died after he was shot by an alleged military agent in Davao del Norte Tuesday afternoon, according to Task Force Lakbayan, the organizing committee for this year’s Lakbayan ng mga Pambansang Minorya.
In a text message to media Wednesday morning, the task force said Obillo Bay-ao, a Grade 6 student of Salugpongan Community Learning Center, sustained serious wounds from the shooting and was declared dead by the Davao Regional Hospital at 9 p.m., Tuesday, September 5.
He was rushed to the hospital the same day after an alleged member of a paramilitary group, identified as Ben Salangani, shot him in the province’s Talaingod town at about 2:30 p.m.
Bay-ao’s death is the 47th case of political killing in Southern Mindanao Region, according to the task force.
The UP Diliman community hosts about 3,000 members of national minority groups, including the Lumad, as part of the three-week long Kampuhan sa Diiman, a yearly solidarity campaign against the ongoing alleged militarization of indigenous schools and communities.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) condemned Bay-ao’s killing.
“Why is the regime killing the future of the nation? What kind of tyranny is this?,” said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr., who also denounced the Caloocan police’s killings of 17-year-old Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos and former University of the Philippines student 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz.
“The drug war and the regime’s all-out war and counter-insurgency drive will claim the lives of more young people if these are not stopped,” said Reyes.
“The entire premise of these programs is problematic because it believes that complex social issues can be solved with iron-fisted rule,” he said.
“It believes that illegal drugs can be solved by physically eliminating street-level, slum-dwelling pushers. It believes that the insurgency can be defeated by bombing communities and killing unarmed activists,” said the Bayan leader.
“(Rodrigo) Duterte once said that we cannot build a nation on the bones of dead Filipinos. Mr. President, the bones keep piling up, and they are getting younger and younger,” added Reyes.