Monday July 16, 2018

Progressive groups lead probe on spate of killings

PROGRESSIVE groups in Central Visayas launched a two-day mercy and fact finding mission in Guihulngan City on the reported extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the area.

“Murag gihimo na nila nga killing field and syudad sa Guihulngan (It seems like they turned the City of Guihulngan into a killing field),” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Central Visayas chairperson Jaime Paglinawan said Friday, September 15.

On Thursday, Bayan and Karapatan and several members of the progressive left went to Guihulngan City to provide immediate assistance to the victims and families and to document human rights atrocities.

READ: Militant groups condemn Guihulngan killings

Several killings were reported in Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental and in Guihulgnan City in Negros Oriental sometime in August until recently.

Karapatan Central Visayas spokesperson Dennis Abarientos said the killings show a pattern and the dead started to pile up after the
July 21 ambush by NPA rebels against the Guihulgan police.

"The victims were gunned down by men 'riding in tandem'," he added.

Niño Olayvar, spokesperson of Anakbayan Cebu, said one of the first victims of extra judicial killings (EJK) after the ambush incident was Glen Absin, a former member of the League of Filipino Students-Cebu.

Olayvar added that in just two months, there were already eight cases of EJK in Guihulngan City alone.

Included among the victims of EJK in the city were Leboy Tecson, the vice-chairperson of Pamalakaya-Guihulngan and Oscar Asildo Jr., a Bayan Muna organizer and worked as a bookkeeper in DepEd Division Office in Guihulngan.

Nick Abasolo, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Cebu said that members of a peasant organization under KMP and their families also received death threats.

“The series of killings and threats among local leaders of farmers’ organizations as well as their allies has planted an atmosphere of terror in the community while there was no action from the police to solve or give lead to the series of killings," Patrick Torres, Executive Director of Farmers Development Center, said.

"The culture of impunity prevails and created fear among the local people,” he added.

Edgar Gahisan of Health Alliance for Democracy encouraged the people to gather support and stand for the victims of the EJK and human rights violations.

Paglinawan condemned the massive militarization in the area saying this is the Duterte administration's response to communities under its "Oplan Kapayapaan."

“The Oplan Kapayapaan of the US-Duterte Administration is not intended to address the insurgency in the country but a clear attack and war against the civilians, against the unarmed Filipino people.”

"Oplan Kapayapaan" is the anti-insurgency campaign of the Duterte administration. It was called "Oplan Bayanihan" during former president Benigno Aquino's term.

Paglinawan said the operation has led to the killings of members of progressive and militant groups and their supporters. (PR)