Farmers in Comval strafed, arrested in last 30 days of Oplan Bayanihan

STRAFED AND GRAZED Aladen Rosquitos shows the scratches on the top of his head, after crawling far to evade the hour-long strafing of the military to their house. He says that elements of the 60th IB strafed his home. In the last days of Oplan Bayanihan, state violence rages on.
STRAFED AND GRAZED Aladen Rosquitos shows the scratches on the top of his head, after crawling far to evade the hour-long strafing of the military to their house. He says that elements of the 60th IB strafed his home. In the last days of Oplan Bayanihan, state violence rages on. (Photo by Lam Banuag, Karapatan – SMR)

DAVAO CITY- With less than a month before the Aquino regime steps down from power, farmers in Compostela Valley reported human rights violations committed against them.

Karapatan – Southern Mindanao reports two farmers and their families survived a strafing incident committed by military elements in Brgy. Kapatagan, Laak, Compostela Valley, last June 2.

In another incident, a peasant was illegally arrested in Mawab and, was slapped with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms last June 1.

Surviving the strafing were Aladen Etol Rosquitos and Randy Rosquitos, who managed to escape the shooting spree by alleged elements of the 60th IB, who fired at their houses at around 4:30 am.

According to Randy, he saw around 25 armed men in camouflage uniforms about 30 meters away from their home, whom he heard whispering before they started strafing their houses.

Randy and Aladen claim that it was their cousin, Marlon Rosquitos Samson, who was behind the attack to their life.

According to the two, Marlon is a thief with cases reported in Sawata Police Station, San Isidro, Laak, and also served as a guide for the 60th IB in counter-insurgency operations. Farmers said they heard soldiers tell Marlon that he would be accepted as a regular soldier if he could help capture a New People’s Army leader.

Two other farmers, Nikomedes Tapilot and Romar Zamora, were also illegally held and interrogated by the 60th IB troops that day. Soldiers took their pictures and confiscated their chickens.

Soldiers took Randy’s backpack, cellphone and hammocks claiming these belonged to the NPA whom they engaged in a firefight.

Randy and Aladen said they felt fear after hearing threats that eight farmers would be killed after the murder of Paul Saludaga, another member of the Farmers’ Association in Compostela.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Wamilda, 33, leader of Mawab Farmers’ Association, was taken away by elements of the CIDT-SOU, and detained at the police station in Mawab, before he was brought to the Nabunturan Municipal Police Station and charged with violation of RA 10591.

Wamilda was a barangay tanod in their area, and a member of the Mawab Farmers’ Association.

Karapatan said that the arrest of Wamilda shows the continuing attacks against members of progressive organizations in the countryside.

“From start to finish, the Aquino regime is untiring in sowing terror and violating human rights of the people. There is no let-up on the AFP’s and police’s fascist operations that make mockery of the law and unjustly put civilians behind bars,” Karapatan said in a statement.

“It is further disgusting that the AFP is using criminals as its accomplices, and provide them with impunity in return for the services they render in the course of military operations that make no distinction between combatants and civilians,” it added.

“Clearly, Aquino and the AFP are eager to rack up their achievements before the current administration’s term ends. That means civilians are targeted for attacks, then branded as NPA’s, just so the military can list something in their statistics”.

Karapatan challenged the incoming Duterte presidency to end illegal arrests, drop trumped up charges against members of progressive organizations, and end militarization in the countryside.

 

###

Advertisements

HR Group Critizes Año’s Promotion As New PA Chief

ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE Eduardo Año's appointment as chief of the Philippine Army spells more human rights violations nationwide. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer, caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)
ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE Eduardo Año’s appointment as chief of the Philippine Army spells more human rights violations nationwide. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer, caption by Laz Olalo, Karapatan-SMR)

JULY 20, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region decried today the promotion of Maj.Gen. Eduardo Año as chief of the Philippine Army.

“The 10th ID, under the leadership of Año, was at the frontlines in the war against peasants, lumads, and human rights defenders,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.

Forcible evacuation of lumads and farmers, trumped-up charges against leaders of progressive organizations, illegal arrests of civilians perceived enemies of the state, and killings of helpless civilians. This was the result of Año holding the helm of the 10th ID here in Southern Mindanao.

“If Año can bring that kind of terror in the region with the limits as a division chief of the army, what is it to stop him from wreaking havoc on a national level?,” Suazo asked.

Under Año, the killing of three civilians in the Paquibato Massacre and vilification of lumad leader Aida Seisa as member of the New Peoples Army (NPA) took headlines last month. This was followed by a strafing incident of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) chairperson Bello Tindasan, the killing of community leader and Typhoon Pablo survivor Felix Basig in Davao Oriental, and many other countless rights violations.

The closure of lumad schools in Talaingod and Kapalong through the collusion of the military and DepEd XI was also an issue in the previous months.

Suazo pointed out that the attack by suspected state agents to the office of Karapatan-SMR and the victims taking refuge in the area was perpetrated while Año was the chief of the 10th ID.

Under his term as 10th ID chief, Año boasted the killing of of top NPA leader Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao and his medic Vanessa “Ka Kyle” Limpag. This, many believed, catalyzed his promotion.

Third-party groups to the armed conflict have been quick to condemn the killing of Pitao and Limpag, as the former was already in hors de combat status, while the latter’s right to life have been guaranteed under the International Humanitarian Law.
It was only less than a year ago when Año was appointed as commanding officer of 10th ID, side-by-side with another Palparan-trained general Aurelio Baladad, who became chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command. These two notorious generals reactivated the low intensity conflict-style in Mindanao through the re-formation of paramilitary groups like ALAMARA and BAGANI Force.

Suazo said that “blood will be spilled not only in Mindanao, but every place where the Philippine Army is as commanded by Año.”

Citing the plight of the 600 Manobos who have taken sanctuary in Davao City to escape militarization, Suazo said that the terror spread out by the military will intensify even more.

###