Today we remember the birthday of Rolando Panggo, a human rights defender, who was allegedly murdered on November 29th, 2014.
Mr. Panggo worked as a community organizer for PM (Partido Manggagawa), a labor party dedicated to support farmers in their struggle to obtain their rights regarding agrarian and labor disputes.
Rolando `Lando` Panggo was assigned to support the Hacienda Salud Farm Workers Association (HASAFAWA) in 2013. During his work there, he was harassed, threatened and several suspects attempted to bribe him and his family. Despite these obstacles he continued his work and struggle.
At around 6:30pm on November 29, Mr. Panggo was killed by gunshot when returning from a meeting in Isabela, Negros Occidental. His cousin witnessed the assassination, but could not identify the three perpetrators as his head was pressed to the ground during the killing. However, he heard the perpetrators say „you’re a nuisance, you’re interfering even with the landholdings“. Mr. Panggo’s death leaves behind his wife and seven children.
Mr. Panggo´s assassination was motivated to stop his human rights activism and his involvement with the HASAFAWA farmers and their struggle. His case is still being processed and we hope that justice will be served and those responsible will be held accountable for their crimes.
Our condolences go out to the family and friends and we hope to see the work he started to be continued in the future.