Another activist shot dead, this time in Bacolod

Zara Alvarez
Zara Alvarez, 39, worked for human rights group Karapatan and was a advocacy officer for a community-based health program. She was shot dead on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 in Bacolod City.
Zara Alvarez's Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:58 a.m.) — Just a few days after the fatal shooting of activist Randall Echanis, another activist—a human rights advocate—was gunned down in a private village in Bacolod City on Monday.

Zara Alvarez, 39, who has been a leader of campaigns against human rights violations and an advocacy officer of a community health program, was shot dead at around 6:45 p.m.

Alvarez was a political prisoner before she worked as a paralegal for rights organization Karapatan, which has been critical of government's bloody anti-drugs campaign.

Just hours after Alvarez was found dead, Clarizza Singson, Karapatan's secretary-general for Negros received a death threat, AlterMidya reported.

Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list) condemned the killing of Alvarez and condoled with her family and fellow human rights workers.


Alvarez was included in posters that circulated in 2018 in Bacolod City listing activists as suspected communist rebels.

Ben Ramos, one of those featured in the 2018 posters that red-tagged human rights defenders and activists, was killed later that year.

The deaths of Alvarez and Ramos are among the spate of killings of activists and outspoken private individuals under the Duterte administration. Echanis, a 72-year-old peasant leader and chair of Anakpawis party-list, was slain in his Quezon City home on August 10.

Alvarez's colleagues at Karapatan expressed "deep grief and indignation" over her death, which was reported a few hours after Echanis was buried.

"Today, we laid to rest Ka Randy Echanis, one of those who helped establish Karapatan and [a] staunch peacebuilder and land rights defender. Tonight, we learned of the sad news that our former campaign and education director and paralegal in Negros, Zara Alvarez, was killed in Bacolod City," Karapatan said in a statement.

"Like Ka Randy, she was included among those tagged as 'terrorists' in the proscription case of the Department of Justice filed in 2018," the group added. "Her name and that of many others were stricken off the list, but the threats against her by alleged State forces continued."

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