Suspected members of the Philippine military strafed the house of Bong Fulong Anteng Freay with gunfire at about 5:00 AM of August 23, instantly killing him and his son, Victor Freay, according to reports from the Social Action Center (SAC) of Marbel in South Cotabato.
Bong Fulong means elder or chief in B’laan; Anteng Freay is the head claimant of the Ancestral Domain Territory (ADT) of the Atbol Blaan territory. Majority of the B’laans oppose the Tampakan mining project.
“This is very sad. This is what happens when the government turns a blind eye on the apparent relation of violence and mining in Tampakan. How many massacres will it take to make our government act on this?”, said Fr. Oliver Castor, project officer of the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI).
It could be remembered that a similar occurrence dubbed as the Capion massacre happened October last year.
In a congressional hearing about the killing of Juvy Capion and her two sons, Kiblawan (Davao del Sur) Mayor Marivic Diamante admitted that Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is providing funds for the operations of the military within the towns of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio.
The testimony of then newly-appointed commander of the AFP’s 1002nd Brigade, Col. Norman Marcos Flores further corroborated Diamante’s admission.
“The statements of Mayor Diamante and Col. Flores clearly link the mining company to the violence of security forces against those who are opposing the project,” Castor asserted.
Meanwhile, Rose Trajano of the Philippine Alliance Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) is wary that the mistakes done to the Capion massacre will happen again.
“The scene of the crime must be preserved. The PNP-SOCO and the CHR must be able to independently investigate what really happened there. We appeal to AFP Human Rights Office chief Col. Parayno to ensure that the military will respect due process and rule of law,” she said.
“The military operations are still on-going as of this moment in Bong Mal territory. We call on the AFP to immediately stop this to prevent more human rights violations and loss of lives,“ Castor appealed.
Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, together with Social Action Committee (SAC) in Marbel, wrote a letter that day to request a meeting with Eastern Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III to learn more about the incident and to conduct it publicly.