Friday, March 27, 2015

Justice For William Bugatti

By Abigail Anongos (Secretary General of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance) - Today, we remember William Bugatti on his first death anniversary. A year ago on March 25, 2014, suspected State assassins killed William in cold blood in Bolog, Kiangan, Ifugao. William was a devoted human rights and indigenous people’s rights defender.

A year after the incident, justice remains elusive. No single perpetrator has been arrested and made answerable to the murder of William. The continuing culture of impunity under the BS Aquino regime to victims of extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations is outrageous and calls for condemnation.

William was a family man, jolly, and committed to his work as an organizer, human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights defender. His work brought him to far flung communities of Ifugao and in the Cordillera region. He patiently joined and organized peasants into local people’s organizations for sustainable agriculture and strengthening of indigenous practices of cooperation. As a human rights defender, he visited communities and victims for human rights education and documentation of human rights violations. He also visited and facilitated jail visits for political detainees in Ifugao.

William’s death greatly affected his colleagues and the communities he served. But most of all, William’s killers robbed his family a loving father and husband. With his death, communities are also denied of his services as an organizer, leader and educator. Life for his family is never the same. His wife was forced to work as an OFW to provide food on the table and the daily needs of their three young children. The once happy family is now struggling to live their normal lives.

William is neither a criminal nor a terrorist as portrayed by suspected intelligence operatives of the State. Worst, even after his death, the political vilification continues.

A photo of William Bugatti.
As we remember William, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and the Ifugao Peasant Movement join his family and community in calling for justice and State accountability for his death. William will always be remembered as hero of our people whom he served with dedication and perseverance. No amount of political vilification can tarnished his contributions in changing a better world for all.

Lastly, we also call for the immediate stop of the heightened political vilification and surveillance of members and leaders of people’s organizations, barangay officials, environmental and indigenous people’s advocates in Ifugao by suspected intelligence operatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. These accusations are all are malicious, baseless and unfounded.