EXCERPT: The critical views of slain Ilagan mayor Delfinito Albano... may have earned him a place in the target list of death squads... He also reportedly supported the peasant clamor against the spread of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops in [the province of] Isabela. (item 2)
1.Indian PM fails to address Bt cotton
2.Militants Denounce Killing of Ilagan Mayor
1.Indian PM fails to address Bt cotton and other critical issues
According to a VIDARBHA JANANDOLAN SAMITI press release, the Indian Prime Minister's visit to a remote tribal village in Vidharba was cancelled in order to hide the real conditions faced by poor cottonfarmers.
The village of Kolzari was the only place where the PM, Dr Manmohan Singh, was to visit cotton growers' homes in order to see the condition of cotton growers who have been committing suicide.
Local farmers' leader Kishor Tawari, who has repeatedly drawn attention to the role of Bt cotton in the the crisis facing cotton farmers in Vidarbha, had already been banned from meeting the Prime Minister.
Kolzari villagers refused to meet the Indian PM at Yavatmal airport instead. They were replaced in discussions about their problems by "proxy villagers".
Kishor Tawari has described the PM's visit as "survey tourism" and "eyewash".
Tiwari has also condemned the PM's package of relief measures for Vidarbha for its failure to address the real problems farmers are facing.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) makes the same point, as India's national daily paper The Hindu reports, "The Prime Minister only marginally addressed the problem of indebtedness, which was the symptom of a large agrarian crisis, the BJP said. Dr. Singh did not address BT cotton seed-related problems." (Package totally inadequate: BJP, The Hindu, July 2 2006) http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/02/stories/2006070207330800.htm
2. Militants Denounce Killing of Ilagan Mayor
BY ABE ALMIROL Northern Dispatch
Bulatlat, Vol. VI, No. 21, July 2 - 8 2006 Quezon City, Philippines
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
The critical views of slain Ilagan mayor Delfinito Albano and his support to the cause espoused by activists may have earned him a place in the target list of death squads responsible for the spate of political killings.
ILAGAN CITY - The militant human rights watchdog Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights) condemned the killing of Ilagan City Mayor Delfinito "Jojo" Albano, whom they said had supported victims of human rights abuses of the military.
Albano was ambushed on June 27 while in Quezon City. The town of Ilagan in Isabela province is 408 kilometers north of Manila.
"We join the masses in demanding justice for Mayor Albano. We hope that the investigation will have its due course," Karapatan staff Grace Bautista said in a phone interview.
Albano's stand against the formation of the paramilitary Citizens' Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgu) made him popular among his constituents in the barangays (villages) along the Forest region and in Hacienda Sta. Isabel and San Antonio, two vote-rich communities here. Karapatan has reported many cases of human rights violations in these areas in the past.
Karapatan said Albano is the first local government chief executive who formed a human rights committee. Albano is also one of the convenors of the "Save the Valley, Serve the People Movement", a regional alliance of environmentalists concerned in protecting the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Cagayan River.
Albano's critical views and support to the cause espoused by militants may have earned him enemies. He may have been a part of target list of the death squads responsible in the spate of political killings, said Bautista.
The PNP is pursuing an angle connecting the killing to Albano's anti-drug campaign.
Nordis learned that Albano had allowed people's protest marches against government policies, as a form of exercising their freedom of expression and of peaceable assembly. He also reportedly supported the peasant clamor against the spread of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops in Isabela.
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