Pantukan probe confirms boy was a civilian, other military atrocities noted

RECONSTRUCTING A fellow miner recounts how Ronel Paas took cover in nearby ball-mill equipment before a bullet plunged his chest. Human rights group Karapatan-SMR claims that Paas was a small-scale miner and a civilian, contrary to the branding by the military that he was an NPA (Photo by Ilyas Rondag)
RECONSTRUCTING A fellow miner recounts how Ronel Paas took cover in nearby ball-mill equipment before a bullet plunged his chest. Human rights group Karapatan-SMR claims that Paas was a small-scale miner and a civilian, contrary to the branding by the military that he was an NPA (Photo by Ilyas Rondag)

The military is lying over the child-warrior story and is responsible for the killing of a miner in an operation in Pantukan, Compostela Valley. This was revealed by the national humanitarian mission after a two-day probe on the area.

The mission, composed of 100 participants coming from Davao, Manila and other parts of Davao Region, documented testimonies from villagers in Post Four, Barangay Napnapan accusing the 46th Infantry Battalion for the killing of small-scale miner Ronel Paas and the wounding of a 14-year old boy in the area.

“This is a clear testament that the people are resolved to bring justice will overwhelm the efforts of these military lapdogs to prevent the truth from being known,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, the lead group of the mission.

Suazo said the military covered up the incidents by claiming Paas and the boy were members of the revolutionary group New People’s Army.

She said the incident dampens the 30th EDSA People Power commemoration Thursday as ‘Martial Law’ style terror in the rural areas continue.

“It is saddening that as we commemorate the 30th year of EDSA People Power, this supposed occasion of celebrating freedom is eclipsed with denial of human rights by state forces. Militarization has only increased decades after the Martial Law, in the regime of a freedom fighter’s son,” Suazo lamented.

She said the mission uncovered the attacks against the community was due to their strong resistance against mining multinational St. Augustine Copper and Gold Ltd – Nadecor.

The group also assailed the burning of the Manobo evacuee shelter and student dormitory in UCCP Haran on Wednesday as incidents similar to Martial Law were communities come under attack.

Suazo also assailed the harassment of the military on the mission.  She said soldiers in civilian clothes were seen in the community, standing guard near houses and barangay offices.

“We were able to push through with our mission despite the glaring presence of military personnel, who were outrageously clad in civilian clothes and standing guard near civilian structures,” Suazo said.

She also condemned the harassment the mission convoy experienced going back to Davao, as they were held by three military checkpoints set up by the 46th IB, 71st IB, 57th IB and 72nd IB.

“We were held for more than five minutes at each checkpoint. We see no other motive for such checkpoints, except for the intent of the military to harass and intimidate the missioners, and further delay the finalization of the investigation. Only monsters hiding their own bloody trail would do such a thing,” Suazo claimed.

Karapatan urges the government and the next president to stop adopting the IPSP Bayanihan counterinsurgency as it drives off and attacks civilian farmers and lumads.

###

Advertisements

“People-centered approach indeed, as civilians killed, not the NPA”- Karapatan Southern Mindanao

REAL OBJECTIVES Missioners for a humanitarian-peace mission in Sitio Diat Post 4, Brgy. Tagdangua, Pantukan Compostela Valley inspected by elements of the 46th IB. Karapatan claims that the real targets of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan are the civilian populations, not the NPA (Photo by Samuel dela Cruz)
REAL TARGETS Missioners for a humanitarian-peace mission for Sitio Diat Post 4, Brgy. Tagdangua, Pantukan Compostela Valley inspected by elements of the 46th IB in a checkpoint in Brgy. Tibagon. Karapatan claims that the real targets of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan are the civilian populations, not the NPA (Photo by Samuel dela Cruz)

DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao sounded alarm today, over the quick rate of extra-judicial killings in the region and series of other human rights violations by the military.

From January 11 to February 9, seven individuals ranging from peasant leaders to ordinary civilians, were gunned down either by suspected state agents, or men in uniform.

The military have been quick to deny involvement to the killings, or brand the victims as NPA, but Karapatan said otherwise.

“We are here today to expose to the public the dual atrocities of the military: they have killed civilians, and unjustly labeled them as NPA casualties so as to avoid any accountability for their crimes,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.

Along with mass leaders from various grassroots organizations, Suazo enumerated the series of extra-judicial killings today, narrating the civilian status of the victims and their participation in actions condemning state fascism and inaction.

“Farmers, anti-mining, activists, and lumad students seem to be the recent appetite of the war monster that is the Oplan Bayanihan,” Suazo lamented.

Suazo cites the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan as the blueprint “to exterminate the people’s resistance,” saying that its people-centric approach made certain the death of ordinary Filipinos.

“By borrowing the ‘people-centered’ approach from the US counterinsurgency guide, the mercenary AFP has made progressive organizations and innocent civilians its primary target. The presence of the NPA is mere pretext to legitimizing their operations in the countryside,” Suazo claimed.

Despite the “terror sowed by military”, Suazo asserted that peoples’ movements “remain undeterred, even more emboldened.”

“The corpses are piling up, but so is the rage, unity, and realization amongst the people that the only way to end the killings is to stand up for their rights and struggle against the Aquino regime, the ultimate killer of the Filipino people,” Suazo said.

###

PRESS RELEASE

KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION

CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO

0932-198-6728

Bloody pre-valentine season in Davao, as three killed

 

RAGE AND GRIEF Wife of Romel Paas shrieks at the foot of her husband, now a corpse after sustaining a gunshot wound to the chest. Paas was detained for over an hour at a military detachment in Brgy. Tibagon, Pantukan Compostela Valley, before he was permitted by the 46th IB to ride an ambulance. He was declared dead-on-arrival in the hospital. (Photo by Lam Banuag, Karapatan-SMR)
RAGE AND GRIEF Wife of Romel Paas shrieks at the foot of her husband, now a corpse after sustaining a gunshot wound to the chest. Paas was detained for over an hour at a military detachment in Brgy. Tibagon, Pantukan Compostela Valley, before he was permitted by the 46th IB to ride an ambulance. He was declared dead-on-arrival in the hospital. (Photo by Lam Banuag, Karapatan-SMR)

TAGUM CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao condemned the three recent cases of extra-judicial killings in the region, happening in a span of a week.

Alejandro Laya-og, 36 years old, a motorcycle driver from Maragusan, was gunned down last Sunday, February 7, 2016, at around 6pm. Laya-og was at the terminal in Brgy. Poblacion, Municipality of Maragusan, Compostela Valley Province, when an unidentified armed man shot him once in the back. The man then turned him over, fired one more time, hitting him in the head.

Laya-og was a member of the Kahugpungan sa Mag-uuma sa Magcagong (KAMAMA, Organization of Farmers in Magcagong), a farmer’s group criticizing the militarization in Maragusan and promoting farmers’ welfare. Laya-og also helped in the construction of lumad community school, Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) in the area as requested by their local organization.

According to Laya-og’s wife, her husband already mentioned that men from the 25th IB had summoned him before and accused him as supporter of New People’s Army (NPA). Her husband mentioned three days before he was killed that he was being followed by suspicious looking men.

On February 9, Tuesday at noon time, Jennifer Albacite, on her mid-40s, was gunned down by still unknown individuals at Brgy. Poblacion, Compostela, Compostela Valley Province.

Companions of Albacite surmise that it was her sister, Jeannirose Porras, a staff of the Compostela Farmers’ Association (CFA), was the real target of the killing.

Officers and members of CFA has been red-tagged by 66th and 67th IBPA due to their opposition against the entry of Agusan Petroleum Mining Company (AgPet) and AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency campaign, which has been targeting civilians and human rights defenders.

Around 3 pm of the same date, Ronel Paas, 35, a small-scale miner in Sitio Diat, Post Four, Brgy. Napnapan, Pantukan, Compostela Valley, was hit by a bullet in the chest after elements of the 46th IB went on an indiscriminate firing spree.

According to residents in the area, the 46th IB fired M203 grenades and bullets towards the civilian population, after failing to go after the NPA in the area.

Paas managed to survive his gunshot wound, but was held at the military detachment in Brgy. Tibagon, Pantukan, Compostela Valley. He was detained for an hour, and was finally released after his kin and co-workers presented ID’s confirming his civilian identity.

According to Paas’ wife, her husband was still alive at the military detachment, even pinching the men carrying him to hospital, weakly telling them to hurry up.

Two other casualties in the said area was a 14 year old boy, who was hit in the leg, and a woman who sustained a bullet in the chest. The location of the woman is kept confidential for the time being, while the boy was taken by the military to Camp Panacan in Davao City, then branded as NPA child warrior

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, condemned the rapid killings of civilians and progressive leaders.

“In Southern Mindanao, it’s countdown to genocide for mass leaders and civilians, as armed forces of the state continue to militarize rural areas”

Suazo claimed that most of the recent cases of extra-judicial killings were either “supporters of the alternative schools, opposition to foreign large-scale mining, and critics of the Oplan Bayanihan.”

Suazo added many civilians in Sitio Diat, Post-4 could readily attest to the civilian status of Paas and the 14 year old boy, while “only the military can parrot and believe their contrived truths that these men were NPA members. 10th IDPA-Eastern Mindanao Command is a pathological liar. They are branding civilians as NPAs in order to escape criminal liability which explains the worsening state of impunity in the Philippines.”

Suazo belied the claims of the military that they had no hand in the killing of Teresita Navacilla and frustrated murder on Alexander Josol, with the recent civilian injuries, illegal arrests and deaths in Pantukan.

“These killings in Pantukan add strength to our claim that the 46th IB is out to displace civilian communities, to pave way for large-scale mining in the area.”

According to Karapatan-SMR, there are already 57 victims of extra-judicial killings in the region since the BS Aquino regime took office.

“If there’s anything that this country is reminded of, it’s that Oplan Bayanihan is not against the NPA. It’s the state murdering its own people,” she concluded.

####

PRESS RELEASE

February 10, 2016

KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO

CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO, SECRETARY-GENERAL

09321986728

URGENT ALERT: Typhoon Pablo survivor and community leader killed by elements of 67th IBPA at around 6pm on June 25, 2015 in Sitio Kaputian, Brgy. Mahan-ub, Municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental

 

Ricky Basig, in a dialogue with barangay officials, on the atrocities of the military.(Photo and caption by Lam Banuag)
Felix Basig, in a dialogue with barangay officials, on the atrocities of the military.(Photo and caption by Lam Banuag)

ERRATUM: The previous version of this alert named the victim as “Ricky Basig”. We apologize for the mistake.

 

Felix Basig, a member of Barug Katawhan (People Rise), an organization of Typhoon Pablo survivors in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, was shot by elements of the 67th IB led by a certain PFC. Maca that caused his untimely death. PFC. Maca is the team leader of the Peace and Development Operation Program (PDOP) team in Sitio Kaputian, where Basig resides.

According to initial accounts, Basig was shot at around 6 PM of June 25, while sitting in the veranda of his home.

Basig had been active in initiatives for rebuilding in Sitio Kaputian after Typhoon Pablo struck the area. He took part in projects to build water lines for drinking and formation of farming cooperatives for food production.

Months before, a certain “Gatchalian” from the 67th IB summoned Basig, and vilified him as a member of the NPA.

Less than a month ago, a fact-finding mission initiated by Exodus for Justice and Peace participated by Karapatan-SMR documented human rights violations by the military against the civilian population. Basig reported three instances where he had been harassed by the 67th IB, and was also asked to serve as guide for the said military unit.

Basig participated in the dialogue with barangay officials after the mission, to report the atrocities of the military in their area. He was also the purok leader of Sitio Kaputian and a lumad from the Mandaya tribe.

 

###