Saturday, April 23, 2011

2 activists slain, mass leader arrested

2 activists slain, mass leader arrested

April 21, 2011

Two barangay officials in Compostela Valley and Batangas were killed by armed agents of the state while an Igorot leader was illegally arrested in Nueva Ecija. In Samar, four children became victims of military abuse and in Cagayan, two peasants were victimized by the AFP's brutality.

April 15. Soldiers conducting military operations hit 38-year old farmer Roel Santiago's chest with rifle butts. Santiago, a resident of Barangay Santor, Baggao, Cagayan was on his way home when he was accosted by soldiers in Sitio Culidag, Barangay Hacienda Intal and forced to serve as a guide. Soldiers also threatened 48-year old peasant Edgar Campo of Barangay Bacagan, Baggao that they would cut off his little finger if he refused to admit that he had been taking NPA guerrillas into his home.

The soldiers have been using the chapels and barangay halls of Bacagan, Hacienda Intal, Azinga Via, Santa Margarita, Tungal and Santor and many of the villagers' houses as military detachments since their operation began last April 11. The massive battalion-size operation was launched by the 5th ID as a test mission for its newly trained soldiers. The operation covers the towns of Baggao, Gattaran, Gonzaga, Sta. Teresita and Buguey.

April 12. An unknown assailant shot to death Ricky Manrique, 49, in his house in Barangay Kingking, Pantukan, Compostela Valley. Manrique, a village council member, was killed in front of his wife and child and sustained several gunshot wounds in the head and back. Manrique actively campaigned against the operations of big foreign mining companies in the province like the US-owned Russel Mining and Minerals. Manrique was also a member of the Anakpawis Party in Compostela Valley, a convenor of the Save Pantukan Alliance and the leader of the Boringot Small Scale Mining Cooperative and the Federation of Miners Aggrupation in Pantukan (FedMap).

April 11. Suspected military agents killed Kenneth Reyes, 28, a resident of Barangay Maguihan, Lemery, Batangas. Reyes was the barangay captain of his village and chair of BAYAN-Batangas. He was on his way home from a seminar when he was shot by two unidentified assailants. He sustained four gunshot wounds from a cal .45 pistol.

BAYAN-Southern Tagalog strongly condemned Reyes' murder. They assailed PNP-Lemery chief S/Supt. Alberto Supapo for claiming that the victim was killed because of drug-related and personal issues. BAYAN-ST slammed Supapo's statement as malicious, with the intent of derailing the investigation on the real motives for the killing.

March 22. Igorot leader Erenesto Bubod, 44, was illegally arrested in Sitio Maluyon, Barangay Villarica, Pantaba-ngan, Nueva Ecija.

In a statement, Lita Umas Bubod, the victim's wife, said she and her husband were resting at their farm when five men who introduced themselves as personnel of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) approached them and invited Bubod for questioning on the burning of their reforestation area on March 17.

It was later made known that Bubod was arrested not by EDC personnel but by soldiers of the 81st IB. Aside from arson, Bubod was also charged with illegal possession of firearms because of a homemade shotgun they found leaning against a tree where the victim was resting.

The Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) and the Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KKAMP) condemned Bubod's arrest. The AMGL disclosed that Bubod's area was heavily militarized due to the ongoing privatization of the hydro-electric power plant in Pantabangan by the First Gen Hydro-Power Corporation. The corporation is controlled by the Lopez Group of Companies which also owns EDC. Bubod is active as the leader of the Kalanguya-Igorot tribe in the area and is among those struggling to defend Igo-rot lands from the encroachment of foreign anf local companies.

March 4. Four children aged four to 12 years were victimized by 30 soldiers conducting military operations in the hinterlands of Barangay Carolina, Matuguinao, Samar.

The soldiers barged into the children's house, asking them where they kept their firearm. The children had been left alone because their parents had been forced by the soldiers to attend a meeting at the town center.

The children answered that they didn't own a gun. But the soldiers refused to believe them and accused them of lying. They relented and left only when the eldest child told them to go ahead and search the house if they didn't believe them.

Before this, the soldiers fired their guns for five minutes to terrorize the villagers and burned down a hut outside the barrio center. Upon entering the barangay, they forcibly rounded up the villagers in the town square to attend an anti-NPA rally. The soldiers threw stones at the houses of residents who refused to go in order to compel them to attend the meeting.

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