AS the nation grieved and raged on the police killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos, two human rights defenders were killed by suspected agents of the military in Compostela Valley, as a result of Duterte’s counterinsurgency campaign and made worse by his martial law declaration in Mindanao.
On Aug. 23, 32-year old Mansaka Roger Timboco, an active member of Kahugpungan sa mga Maguuma sa Maco ComVal (KAMMAO), a peasant organization, was shot dead by suspected agents of 71st IBPA while waiting for passengers at a habal-habal terminal in Mawab, Compostela Valley. He was an active supporter of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, banana farm workers in the Lorenzo-owned Lapanday.
At around 7 p.m. last Aug. 27, small-scale miner Lomer Gerodias was shot dead by an alleged military asset of the 66th IBPA. Gerodias was a member of Abante, a local organization of small scale miners in Poblacion Maragusan. He was an active supporter of peasant struggles in the community. Abante is an affiliate-organization of Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Walog, Compostela (HUMAWAC). HUMAWAC and its members have long been targets of political killings and threats by elements of the military because of their staunch defense of peasants’ rights.
As of July, Karapatan has documented at least 78 victims of extrajudicial killings in line with the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program.
Duterte’s State security forces, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are on a killing rampage, emboldened by direct orders of the president to wage war against the poor and against those who work for progressive and meaningful change. While his war on drugs victimizes innocent minors like delos Santos, his all-out war and martial law declarations have been used as licenses by soldiers to kill peasants and indigenous peoples, especially in Mindanao. Such militarist acts, peddled as solutions by the Duterte regime, only aggravate the social and economic problems that the current administration perpetuates.
We stand against the worsening climate of impunity under the Duterte regime. As we join the Movement Against Tyranny, a broad initiative of freedom-loving groups and individuals opposing repressive and fascist policies of the Duterte administration, we strengthen our resolve to uphold human and people’s rights, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the most oppressed in Philippine society.--Karapatan Public Information Office