A peasant leader was shot by unidentified hitmen after an anti-pork forum in Tagum City that launched the signature drive for the People’s Initiative against Pork Barrel (PIAP) aiming to abolish the ‘pork barrel system’ in the Philippine bureaucracy.

Dexter Ian Celebrado, 31 years old, was brought to the hospital after sustaining a critical shot in his upper pelvic area and nape but is now recovering. The victim attended the Inter-Provincial Forum on the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork Barrel held at Tagum City Cultural and Trade Pavilion and was supposed to go home when at around 4:30 in the afternoon, assailants on board a motorcycle shot the peasant-activist.

In a statement released by the organizers of the forum, Prof Aya Ragragio of Pagbabago! Peoples Movement for Change and the Abolish Pork Movement Southern Mindanao Region stressed the possibility of the state being behind the shooting incident.

“That he was shot in broad daylight on the occasion of the launch of the PIAP, sends a chilling message to all advocates of genuine reforms. It also ups the ante of the anti-pork campaign, with the State now revealing its brutal, fascist side just as the nation is consolidating its lawful response to the endemic corruption inherent in the pork barrel system,” said Ragragio in the statement.

Celebrado is a leader of farmer’s organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and was active in the recent campaign against the occupation of military forces in peasant and indigenous peoples’ communities in Davao del Norte.


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