Government-instigated attacks escalate as Rights Day nears

ILOILO CITY- Groups expressed concern over ‘escalating’ human rights violations and ‘terrorism’ perpetrated by state forces as December 10 International Human Rights Day approaches. Panay Alliance KARAPATAN and PAMANGGAS farmers group denounce the series of killings of unarmed civilians, abductions, threats and intimidations, and the government’s averred plans to declare a ‘revolutionary government’.
As of press time, KARAPATAN recorded 113 extrajudicial killings excluding those related to the drug-war, 222 frustrated killing, 256 illegal arrests, 924 arrests without detention, 426, 170 displaced individuals due to military activities, 36, 623 cases of public structures occupied by state forces, and 364, 617 cases of indiscriminate firing and aerial bombing all perpetrated by the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its sponsored paramilitary groups. KARAPATAN have decried the attacks against legal activists and ordinary citizens.
According to KARAPATAN, in three weeks, vicious and brutal attacks were being perpetrated by state forces to people’s organization and human rights defenders:
  • November 20: 9 members of Quick Reaction Team were illegally arrested by PNP Nasugbu and Philippine Air Force in a checkpoint in Batangas. The arrested were part of a 50 delegation of Batangas Human Rights Alliance (BHRA) – Karapatan who were on the way to document reports of evacuation in Brgy. Utod, Nasugbu, Batangas following a clash between rebel forces and the Philippine Air Force.
  • November 26: residents from 12 Lumad communities in Brgy. Diatagon in Lianga and Brgy. Buhisan in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur were forced to evacuate following military operations in the area. At least 706 students and 53 teachers from 9 Lumad schools were affected. According to reports, on November 23, three truckloads of military soldiers arrived and set up a checkpoint wherein they require everyone passing through to write their names on the military logbook.
  • November 26: In Samar, Sargie Macallan, staff of Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas – Catarman Chapter was choked and punched by Lt. Col. George Domingo, the head of the 20th Infantry Battaltion-Philippine Army (IBPA) CMO Battalion. Sargie together with 2 individuals went to the military detachment to look and provide legal assistance to three farmers who were reportedly abducted by the military. After the incident, Sargie went to the police station to file a blotter report regarding the incident and noticed two masked man in a motorcycle outside the police station waiting for him.
  • November 25: In Davao City, Apolonio Maranan, member of Anakpawis Partylist was killed by suspected member of 16th IBPA.
  • November 28: 2 members of KARAPATAN Fact-Finding Mission were killed while 1 was critically wounded after suspected military elements shot them in Negros, Oriental. The victims were on their way to file a police blotter report when the killing happened. Killed were Elisa Badayos, Karapatan Negros Oriental Coordinator and Elioterio Moises, a barangay councilor. The group was conducting an investigation on human rights abuses in the province when the incident happened.
  • November 30: suspected elements from 66th IBPA killed Rodrigo Timoteo, a member of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA).
  • December 1: soldiers from 75th IBPA stopped humanitarian groups and Lianga LGU who were bringing food packs to the evacuees of Lianga and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur. According to reports, only 2 sacks of rice were allowed by the soldiers to be given to 1,173 Lumad evacuees.
  • In the city of Iloilo, police and military released intelligence reports that there are presence of Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) of NPA operating in different barangays in the city. But according to PCPR, these intelligence reports only aimed at justifying military presence in the city and to vilify, threat, surveillance and red-tagged members of legal organizations who are organizing in the said barangays.
  • December 4: Nonoy Casidsid, a Hanunuo-Mangyan farmer, was abducted by elements of the 4TH Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army at Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro. On the same day, two farmers were physically assaulted by soldiers from the same battalion at Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro as reported by KARAPATAN Southern Tagalog.
  • December 5: an elderly Roman Catholic priest, Rev. Marcelito Paez, was shot dead by unknown assailants at Nueva Ecija after providing assistance in the release of a political prisoner. On the same day, 8 indigenous peoples in a Lumad community at Lake Sebu, South Cotabato were killed by elements of the 27th and 33rd Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army.
‘Human rights violations intensified after President Duterte cancelled the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines through Presidential Proclamation No. 360 and the terrorist labelling of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,’ said Reylan Vergara, spokesperson of Panay Alliance KARAPATAN.
Duterte signed Proclamation No. 374 declaring the CPP-NPA as a “designated/identified terrorist organization” last Tuesday, December 5.
Meanwhile, farmers group PAMANGGAS called Duterte a ‘terrorist’ for ‘peddling human rights violations’. The group warned against the government’s ‘effective silencing ‘of opposition’.
“Everyone is a target, it is not just the legal activists but all citizens can be victimized by Duterte’s violence,” said Cris Chavez, spokesperson of PAMANGGAS.
Panay Alliance KARAPATAN and PAMANGGAS have pledged simultaneous massive protests in the region on December 10./PT

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