ILOILO City – A peasant leader in Miag-ao, Iloilo was killed by the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army last Saturday, April 18.
The 61st IBPA in their statement on Saturday that their troops encountered about 40 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Anoy, Cabalaunan, Miag-ao, Iloilo. A firefight took place for about 35 minutes which resulted in the death of an NPA member, the arrest of seven personalities including a minor, and recovered a rifle, ammunition, sub-machine gun, backpacks, flags, documents, and medical paraphernalia.
The NPA Southern Front Mt. Napulak Command, however, denied the military’s accusations.
“Our unit was prepared even before they were attacked by the military troops. No one was arrested, wounded or dead. None of the NPA unit’s personal belongings nor rifles were left in the incident area,” said Ka Ilaya Kanaway, the command’s spokesperson.
The local peasant alliance Pamanggas identified the casualty as John Farochilin, 50 years old.
According to Pamanggas, Farochilin served as chairman of the Alyansa sang mga Mangunguma sa Miag-ao (Alliance of Farmers in Miag-ao) and council member of Pamanggas.
“He was instrumental in availing food relief and seed subsidy for Miag-aoanon farmers during the campaign against hunger brought by El Niño in 2019. He also facilitated dialogues with the Miagao LGU on several occasions,” said the farmer’s group.
Local human rights group Panay Alliance Karapatan condemned the killing and arrests of innocent civilians. The group also seeks justice for all the victims.
“Justice should be given to the civilian victims and their families after proper investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and other concerned agencies. The soldiers responsible for the killing, arrest, and detention of these civilians should also be prosecuted and made accountable,” said Karapatan./www.panaytoday.net