A caravan and march to Kidapawan City:
Thousands pay tribute to Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME
October 25, 2011
■ The killing of Fr. Tentorio, 54th victim of EJK in the time of Aquino III
■ Video clips
More than 15,000 people including the friends and relatives of slain Italian priest Fr Fausto Tentorio, supporters, Lumads, farmers, church people, human rights advocates and youth joined the funeral march in Kidapawan City and to demand justice for the brutal daylight murder of Fr Pops. Different groups point at the AFP and Aquino administration through its implementation of counter-insurgency plan called Oplan Bayanihan as the culprits on the killing. Fr Pops is the 54th victim of EJKs in the country under the US-Aquino regime.
|All photos and captions by Karlos Manlupig|
Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio: Beloved
Servant of the Masses
For Tatay Pops, the masses, and the masses alone are
the creators of history. He so understood that the masses whom he served
are the true heroes, not himself. He was, to many friends and colleagues,
that candid, hardworking missionary in Arakan who runs a parish, runs
pre-schools in pre-dominantly Lumad villages, who oversees a Notre dame
highschool, and who, every Sunday, gives brief but profound homilies that
affected people’s lives.
Production and livelihood, health, education and
literacy—things which are dear to the masses—these pre-occupied the
thoughts of Tatay Pops. For him, no time should be wasted, his talent,
skills, and drive were all devoted to better the lives of the peasants and
Lumads and to advance the revolutionary struggle. He cautioned colleagues
from staying in convent and instead focus their time in the areas. He
understood sacrifice, but he never uttered the word. To an exhausted
colleague, he would dearly say that the fatigue would pass if you’re happy
with your work with the people. He lived simply, not the one to pamper
himself and even to his colleagues; he did not go beyond what was needed.
He was not miserly for he was generous but his generosity was always for
the people, for the organizations that he helped serve, and not for
personal and individual whims.
This, because he learned from the masses. He was
transformed from being an adventurous 27-year old Italian newly ordained
priest who came to the Philippines who never looked back. Coming from a
working class family in Italy, he saw the vast oppression and poverty in
our country during the Marcos dictatorship. In the first few decades, he
understood what was explicit, that peasants and Lumads need support to
raise their livelihoods and incomes. He sought to make his missionary life
solely devoted in the welfare of the masses. And so he raised funds in
Italy, from friends and associates in his congregation, to secure pigs,
water buffaloes and farming tools.
Yet the inherent failures of the dole-out system and
the tendency of commandism, instead of painstaking work with the masses,
caught up with him. He became frustrated when he saw beneficiaries
slaughtering the animals for food instead of maintaining these for
livelihood. He realized that it was not enough to just give stuff to the
people while they are poor and exploited. In integrating with the masses,
in practicing criticism and self-criticism, it taught him a valuable
lesson: the genuine meaning of mass line, that is to solve the problems of
the masses is to raise their consciousness and alongside with them, solve
the practical problems of their daily lives. He helped educate the people,
and struggle to increase production, fight against usury and high land
rent. And he saw the masses cooperate, strengthen organizations, unite and
struggle against incursions in ancestral lands and militarization. He saw
that politics was the lifeblood of the economic work of the people. He
himself studied and understood the contradictions of Philippine society.
He saw the preponderance of political life and its importance to the
people. He saw the ultimate people’s struggle as an imminent part in the
full salvation of the people. In his sermons, he guided peasants and the
masses towards the kind of deliverance by embracing the national
democratic struggle, that they themselves and they alone could thwart the
system that has long marginalized them, thwart the yoke of poverty,
landlessness and exploitation they bore.
He was the unassuming missionary, who was friends with
the Church hierarchy—that did not always believe in the same convictions.
Though he was never silent with his political beliefs towards his
colleagues in the Church, he was low-key, in the sense that he was not the
one to lead in high-profile political events, he preferred to stay on the
ground and reach out to people, to schoolchildren, to Lumads.
And by transforming himself into a consummate selfless
missionary, he became fearless, courageous, unafraid with death, if death
was to be a consequence of his being a modern day prophet and a
shepherd—steering his flock to take the path of people’s struggle and
attain liberation. He was courageous and resisted having a driver or an
assistant. He was persevering in the face of the many hostile attempts
against his life. He even ventured to expand his work outside Arakan and
North Cotabato and help other Lumads in the region.
He never swayed from the commitment to serve the
masses, working around the boundaries, if not limitations, of his being a
foreign missionary. For if there is one thing that feared Tatay Pops the
most, it was to be uprooted from the masses, to be deported and returned
back home. The thought of being reprimanded by his superiors at the PIME
and the Catholic Church hierarchy, and to suddenly be blacklisted by the
reactionary immigration authorities, this constituted to what could be his
only fear in life.
He was, after all, the simple missionary who lived like
the masses. His words and deeds served to defend the interest of the
masses. His actions sought to unite the people against the evils of our
time-imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism.
And so his death is unbearable to the people whom he
served, to the masses who have etched him in their hearts. The Communist
Party of the Philippines and the revolutionary movement mourn his death
and pay tribute to his profound life, a life well-spent in the service of
the people. He was an Italian who became a great Filipino- a communist, an
internationalist, who devoted more than half of his life to serve the
interest of the poor Filipino masses and make the cause of the Filipino
people as his own.
The Oplan Bayanihan of the US-Aquino Regime has made
him a victim, a martyr, a symbol of the political repression of the
decaying system in the country. His death has exposed the ferocity of the
AFP and the Aquino regime; without compunction, it took the life of a
missionary, a civilian. His killing unmasked the viciousness of the Oplan
Bayanihan which employs political killing as a continuing and explicit
policy of the Aquino government for counterrevolution, less than a year
after it was implemented. The 6th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP
carries the blood debt for Fr. Pops.
And as we express our grief as he is laid to rest, the revolutionary forces vow to bring revolutionary justice for Fr. Pops. The people’s army is ever poised to inflict blows against the enemy who have martyred Fr. Pops. As we grieve, we express our determination to struggle resolutely in crushing the enemies that have felled him and attain a society free from exploitation and oppression.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct. 26, 2011, page 14:
|Relatives of Fr Pops|
MY PERSONAL REFLECTION ON "A TRIBUTE by
SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGIONAL PARTY COMMITTEE-CPP"
In Pop's name please do not allow anyone to disturb or stop Pop's popular
movement. Don't provoke the wrath of the PDOMES ( Poor-
Deprived,Oppressed,Marginalized,Exploited and Struggling People) but join
them in sowing seeds of Peace.
follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/4justicenpeace
and on facebook: www.facebook.com/ejusticeandpeace
RMP Statement on the Killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep." (John 10: 1-2)
We are saddened of the news that came to our attention early Monday morning of October 17, 2011 that a shepherd of the people Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME was murdered in his convent in Arakan Valley Cotabato . He was killed by assailants who entered the convent and shot him on the head, chest and waist sustaining ten (10) bullet wounds with only three (3) bullets exited his body instantly killing him. It is very clear that the priest's murder was pre-meditated as there was already a threat on his life by the paramilitary group under the jurisdiction of the 73rd IB, eight (8) years ago due to his love for the Lumads, particularly in organizing them to have their voice heard the, TINANANON- KULAMANON LUMADNONG PANAGHIUSA (TIKULPA).
We, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME an RMP member and a foreign missionary priest of Cotabato, Southern Mindanao. His killing is a clear disrespect for his right to life and liberty. It is an injustice to his mission to proclaim and live out the gospel. As an RMP member he was very active in his support, encourage, and push forward initiatives working for the promotion of the human rights of the poor farmers and indigenous people of Arakan Valley. He took up the defense of the poor and the oppressed against every form of social injustice. What happened to him is a clear manifestation of silencing his prophetic voice in defending the rights of the rural poor in the countryside. We denounce the extra-judicial killings that is still happening and we demand justice for Fr. Fausto Tentorio. We believe that we can only have authentic and lasting peace if we have respect for human dignity, justice and freedom.
RMP does not tolerate any form of repression especially through extrajudicial killings. The right to life is a gift from God for everybody; no one has the right to take it. The wheel of justice is the proper venue for resolution of any case. We therefore call on the proper authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation on the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio and bring into the bar of justice the ones responsible. He was a good shepherd to God’s flock and could have journeyed long to help the rural poor. We extend forth our sincerest and deepest sympathy to the PIME family of Fr. Fausto Tentorio. JUSTICE for Fr. Fausto Tentorio !
Sr. M. Francis Añover,RSM
cc: AMRSP, MPs, Inquirer, GMA news, ABS-CBN, RSM @ UN Mercy Global Concern, RMP regional coordinators , Bulatlat, etc.
AT GROUND LEVEL
By Satur C. Ocampo
Philippine Star) Updated October 29, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (3)
Fr. Geremia knew that
Fr. Tentorio had closely associated and worked with Batoy and other poor
peasants in Arakan, members of the Lumad and peasant organizations the
slain priest had helped organize and maintain: the Tikulpa (Tinananon-Kulamanon
Lumadnong Panaghuisa) and the APPO (Association of Progressive Peasant
In his last will, read
by Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz at the Mass before the funeral, Fr.
Tentorio immortalized his bond with the Lumads and other people he served
and worked with in these words (translated from the original in Bisaya):
“Your dreams are my dreams, your struggles are my struggles, you and I are
partners in building God’s kingdom.”
Tribute to Fr Fausto Tentorio, the
Official Statement of Kabataang Makabayan Southern Mindanao Region
CBCP Statement on the killing of Fr. Fausto
ON this World Mission Sunday, October 23, 2011, we
acknowledge our great indebtedness to all foreign missionaries. They are
friends of our people. In great sacrifice they have strengthened our faith
and assisted the poor and the needy. We pray for them today.
Soldiers from the 57th IB repair the Oplan Bayanihan billboard at the entrance of their headquarters in Makilala, North Cotabato after Lumads and peasants defaced it to show their anger on the killings of Fr Pops and peasant Ramon Batoy in Arakan.
The death of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME
ON behalf of Most Rev. Nereo P. Odchimar, President of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, we express our
sadness and dismay over the killing of Rev. Fr. Fausto Tentorio PIME. We
convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of Fr. Tentorio, the PIME
community and the Diocese of Kidapawan, particularly those communities he
has so dearly loved and served. We join everyone’s prayer for the eternal
rest of this very kind soul in the love of God.
When will the killings stop?
THE Church has offered once again another precious life
in its service to God’s people and the poor.
Tribal leaders whom Fr Pops served wholeheartedly went down from their tribal communities to join thousands of people in demanding justice for Fr Pops.
Thousands of protesters occupied the Kidapawan City-Davao City highway in front of the Bishop's Palace where Fr Pops was buried to express their rage against the brutal murder. Traffic was paralyzed temporari
Fr Pops was buried beside the fellow Italian priest Fr Tullio Favali who was brutally murdered by anti-communist paramilitaries 26 years ago
Government forces in full battle gear were very visible during the funeral march.
Tatay Pops is a victim of Aquino regime's Oplan
“The revolutionary forces extend their condolences to
the family of Father Tenorio and to the people of Arakan who he selflessly
served,” said the CPP.
“Father Tentorio, endearly referred to as Tatay Pops,
is the latest victim of the continuing war of suppression of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) now named Oplan Bayanihan which targets
people actively engaged in mass struggles or supportive of people’s
cause-oriented movements,” said the CPP.
Father Tentorio was an Italian priest who headed the
Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan, Cotabato. A member of the
Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME), he actively defended the
rights of the minority Manobo people and their struggle to claim their
ancestral land. He was vocal against the activities in Kulaman Valley of
foreign mining companies engaged in the extraction of nickel, cobalt and
“Among the principal targets of the Aquino regime’s war of suppression are people actively opposed to mining operations,” said the CPP. “In line with its campaign to entice foreign mining companies to invest in mining and plunder the country’s remaining mineral resources, the Aquino regime aims to silence opposition and suppress the resistance of local residents.”
Mata ng Lingkod
AFP admits tagging Fr. Tentorio rebel pal
Lieutenant Colonel Leopoldo Galon,
spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMincom) admitted that
authorities had labeled Tentorio as “friendly” to the New People’s Army (NPA),
the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
According to Baraan, cooperation from
Tentorio’s colleagues became a problem when the military got involved in
the investigation. “That was probably one of the reasons they withheld
other information,” he said.
Baraan said he and a team from the National
Bureau of Investigation would make the trip next week. He said he first
traveled to Arakan to conduct an inquiry shortly after Tentorio was shot
dead by a lone assassin, but the priest’s colleagues said they would wait
until after the interment.
“I talked with Fr. Giovanni (Vettorello,
assistant parish priest) and he was very happy to learn that the DOJ
(Department of Justice) had sent a team,” Baraan said Thursday in a press
Sketch of a visitor
“There is some apprehension [among those close
to Tentorio],” he said. “We are looking at getting their cooperation, and
I think they are waiting for us to get the details of what they know.”
He was gunned down on October 17 as he
prepared to drive to Kidapawan City to attend a clergy meeting. An
estimated 10,000 people attended his burial in Kidapawan on October 25.
Baraan said the task force had obtained a
sketch of one of several persons who visited Tentorio at the Our Lady of
Perpetual Help convent shortly before the fatal shooting.
“We have a sketch of somebody who visited
Father Tentorio before he was gunned down. We will confirm it from
witnesses if it is the same person they saw,” he said, adding that the
sketch had yet to be cleared for release to the public.
Baraan clarified that the person on the sketch
was “not necessarily a suspect.”
And we have not ruled out any theories,” he
Church workers in Arakan had said that days
before Tentorio was killed, they saw unidentified men believed to be
soldiers near the convent.
They said one man entered the convent and
inquired where Tentorio was.
‘Friendly’ to NPA
“We also received information that there were
times he aided some of the rebels,” Galon said. “But even that is
justifiable because a priest will help those in distress. Even the Red
Cross does that.”
But he said the military did not believe that
Tentorio was active in the communist underground, as supposedly implied in
the full-page ad put out in the Inquirer and several local papers in Davao
City on Wednesday.
“How can religion and communism mix?” Galon
According to the ad, put out by a group
calling itself the Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee of the CPP
and signed by one Siegfred M. Red, the purported committee secretary,
Tentorio was “a communist, an internationalist, who devoted more than half
of his life to serve the interest of the poor Filipino masses and make the
cause of the Filipino people his own.”
‘So be it’
Bishop Modesto Villasanta, a leader of the
interfaith group Exodus for Justice and Peace, said he saw nothing wrong
in the claim that Tentorio was a communist.
“If they found in Father Pops the standard of
an ideal communist, so be it,” Villasanta said. “Maybe the CPP appreciates
the character of Father Pops, making him worthy to be called a communist
and an internationalist.”
Villasanta said, however, that only the CPP
could confirm whether Tentorio was indeed an active party member. He said
he himself did not believe that the ad should be taken as an admission of
Tentorio’s involvement in the communist underground.
The issue, according to the bishop, is not
whether Tentorio was a communist but whether he lived his life in the
service of the people.
‘Low life tactic’
The ad also said the military was responsible
for Tentorio’s death because he had actively opposed “Oplan Bayanihan,”
the government’s new counterinsurgency tactic. (The Armed Forces has
described the new tactic as putting more weight on development rather on
military operations as a solution to the communist rebellion.)
But Galon said the ad was part of the
communist guerrillas’ “low life tactic” to pin the blame for Tentorio’s
death on the military.
“Labeling Father Tentorio as a communist is a
deceptive attempt to insinuate that the military is behind his murder,”
Galon said. adding:
“Who will benefit from his death? Not us.”
Galon also said Tentorio was known to support scholars whom the military did not want displaced from school “because they would be vulnerable to recruitment” by the NPA.
KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Gina Batoy, wife of Ramon Batoy who was killed in Arakan North Cotabato, fell to the ground while narrating how the soldiers killed his husband during the protest at the entrance of the 57th IB.
Angry protesters grab an intelligence agent who took pictures of the protesters during the protest at the entrance of the 57th IB.
Fully-armed soldiers from the 39th IB with a DSLR and a video cam took videos and photos of the participants of the caravan as the delegation are having their lunch break at Matti, Davao del Sur.
|Enironmental activists pay tribute to Fr. Fausto (Pops) Tentorio|
Video: A tribute to Fr. Fausto
He was truly appreciated and loved by the masses he served as this video shows.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
By MARIETA BASTE-HERNANI and MARILOU AGUIRRE-TUBURAN
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO