Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slain Filipino-Swiss trader in North Cotabato laid to rest

COTABATO CITY, March 10 (PNA) - Relatives of a Filipino-Swiss businessman who was killed by communist guerillas in Kidapawan City on Wednesday have called for authorities to arrest and charged the perpetrators.

Patrick Winiger, the 47-year-old peace advocate based in Makilala, North Cotabato, was shot at close range by two New Peoples Army hitmen at the Kidapawan public market at 7:45 a.m. while doing marketing chores.

Although armed, Winiger, who has been actively supporting government campaign against atrocities committed by communist rebels, failed to fire back as two men were seen pumping bullets on him from behind.

One of the attackers even took Winiger's gun and used it to finish him off.

The NPA claimed responsibility for the attack and said they carried out the murder because of Winiger's alleged participation in the killing of Italian missionary priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio in Arakan, North Cotabato last October.

Winiger, who was abducted by kidnap-for-ransom gangs in 1970s, managed a banana plantation in Makilala, North Cotabato, which employed former NPAs who returned to the folds of the law.

The military and local government officials have separately condemned the atrocities perpetrated by NPAs in Makilala, including the used of landmine against government forces and civilians.

The slain businessman was very active in peace advocacy and help educate civilians that the government is for them and that fighting the mighty government is a useless cause.

He also got the ire of rebels for his repeated calls for communist combatants to live normal lives instead of living in hardship in the slope of the country's highest peak - Mt. Apo.
Edwin O. Fernandez | Philippine News Agency | March 10,2012 | Article Link