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PIA Press Release
2004/08/14

“Enough is enough”: Tagum to raise clenched fists vs. summary killings

Tagum City (14 August) -- Thousands are expected to stomp their feet on the major street arteries of Tagum City as church-led multi-sectoral rally protesting the rampant killings of innocent civilians in the city takes place on Tuesday August 17.

The move, dubbed by the organizers as a “Peaceful Prayer Rally,” is in close coordination with the provincial government of Davao del Norte, the provincial command of the Philippine National Police, all colleges and a university in the city, various civic and business organizations, NGOs, the religious sector and the families and friends of those who were killed since May 16 this year, a few days after the local winners of the recent elections were announced.

The said rally is a subsequent action following the recent consultative forum held at the catholic-run Lay Formation Center along Seminary Drive, Tagum City last August 10. The forum, which focused on the summary executions of innocent civilians in Tagum City, was attended by community leaders led by the Davao del Norte provincial governor Gelacio Gementiza and Monsignor Ulysses Perandos, Assistant Vicar of the Tagum diocese. Others present in the said event, to a name a few, were Provincial Board member Meliton Lemos, Tagum City vice mayor Allan Rellon, who apparently filled-in the non-appearance of Tagum City mayor Rey Uy, City chief of Police Gilbert Clarin, local IBP president and chairman of the Daneco Board Atty. Jesus Albacite and Police Senior Superintendent Anselmo Simeon Pinili, Director of the PNP’s Provincial command.

During the discussions, Clarin confirmed the existence of a drug-watch list which specified the names of people suspected to be hooked in illegal drugs or were into drug trafficking. The said list, purportedly, is in compliance to a directive coming from the Phil. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Interior and Local Government. Board member Lemos however said that a similar list is allegedly being used by gunmen who hunt their victims down.

It was also in that meeting where “death toll” statistic showed twenty six (26) innocent lives have already fallen into the hands of the assassins with no single case able to get justice.

Pinili, however, lamented that of the 26 people killed, only one is actually in the watch-list of the PNP-PDEA.

In the coming rally on Tuesday, participants will be stressing the sanctity of human lives. Church people are expected to “lecture” some biblical lines address to perpetrators of the killings in Tagum and their mastermind.

Rallyists will convene at the the premises of the old Christ the King Cathedral in Rizal St. Tagum at two o’clock in the afternoon of August 17. They will then pour out into the busy street of Pioneer Ave., and proceed to a route, which organizers of the rally preferred to disclose only on the actual time of the march.

After the marching rally, organizers said, they will then reconvene at the Freedom Park situated just within the city hall grounds for prayers and the hearing of a few invited speakers. A poster-making contest, the theme of which revolves around human life, will then be highlighted by the giving of prizes to the winners.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the PNP’s provincial command under Pinili, gave assurance to the public that an elaborate security measures are already in place. A company-size police personnel coming from the PNP’s 1101st mobile group will be mobilized to safeguard every participant of the said prayer rally.

Members of the local media in Tagum also expected give full support to the said rally as they themselves have long condemned summary killing as “barbaric and product of an insane mental state.” (pr) [top]

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