Another sustainable agriculture activist slain in the Philippines (12/9/2006)

41-year-old Ka Victor Olaivar, a member of the Bohol farmers' network fighting against GMOs and palm oil plantations, was gunned down in cold blood on a bridge in Cantubod, Danao on September 7 2006. Bohol was the first province in the Philippines to declare itself GMO-free

His murder follows the slaying earlier this year of Ilagan City Mayor, Delfinito "Jojo" Albano, who supported peasant protests against the spread of GM crops in the Philippines.



We, officers and members of BISAD - Bohol Initiators for Sustainable Agriculture and Development - express our deepest sympathy and condolences to Ka Victor's wife Ma. Elena and her seven children whose husband and father was brutally murdered in the morning of September 7, 2006. We strongly condemn this cowardly act that happened five days after the Province held a multi-sectoral peace initiative attended by the slain Ka Victor. Whoever did this act, has insulted the sovereignty of the Provincial Governor as well as the local Church.

Ka Victor was always there when the rights of peasant-farmers were trampled upon. He joined our group when we lobbied against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which eventually made possible an ordinance making Bohol the first province to be GMO-free. He fought through Bohol Network for Farmers Rights on the rights of farmers to save, share and plant seeds in the light of the latest Plant Variety Protection Act passed by our country which would have made this traditional activity illegal.

We mourned the death of Ka Victor, because the farmers have lost an effective voice against social injustice, oppression from poverty and violation of basic human rights. We mourned his death because it no longer is safe to voice dissent in a supposedly democratic country. Here was a man, an activist, who poured his life into a cause for the poor, the disenfranchised, the hungry, especially the peasant-farmers oppressed too long by poverty and injustice.

We will carry on the work left unfinished so our marginalized farmers may see the dawn of a new era when they no longer have to be hungry, when they can hold their heads up high as dignified human beings, when they be liberated from the chains of poverty and injustice.

Goodbye Ka Victor, may you find peace that eluded you in your short lifetime. May you find "deep peace of the running water, deep peace of the flowing air, deep peace of the quiet earth, deep peace of the shining stars, and deep peace of the Son of Peace."


Officers and members of BISAD


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