Press Statement | December 28, 2018
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, 09173162831
Clarizza Dagatan, Karapatan National Council Member for Negros, 09469376129
Karapatan on the December 27 killings and arrests in Negros
Karapatan human rights workers are still confirming several details on the killings and arrests yesterday, December 27, in Negros Oriental, perpetrated by the 302nd Infantry Brigade,94th Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police.
Initial reports from several sources state that at least six persons were killed, including Jesus “Dondon” Isugan, son of peasant organizers Delia and Dominador Isugan; habal-habal drivers Reneboy Fat and Jaime Revilla, who are also community organizers; and Demetrio Fat, cousin of a peasant organizer. The six were reportedly killed as the PNP and AFP served search warrants in their homes, alleging their possession of firearms.
Sixteen others have been reportedly arrested, including peasant organizer Margie Baylosis, cousin of Joey Baylosis, also a peasant organizer who was arbitrarily arrested with 5 others in Mabinay, Negros Oriental. According to relatives of Margie Vailoces, no search warrants were shown by the police and military to those in the home of the Vailoces family. Firearms were also planted in their residence. Confirmation on the arrests of other peasant organizers will continue, but copies of said search warrants used to justify the arrests are not being shown by the police.
These killings and arrests are reportedly being conducted in line with Pres. Duterte’s orders to destroy the communist movement, including those in its so-called legal fronts, and the police crackdown against crime.
Karapatan deplores the recent killings and arrests in Negros Oriental as among the latest spate of human rights violations by the Duterte regime, in its escalating campaign against activist groups, human rights defenders and communities. These violations come after the massacre of nine farmworkers in Sagay, Negros Occidental; the killing of Atty. Benjamin Ramos in Sipalay, Negros Occidental; the arrest of peasant leaders including Ricky Canete in Sagay City; the relentless threats, villification and harassment against development and human rights workers; and military operations in communities.
Refusing to let Filipinos be in peace even during the holidays, the bloodthirsty Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have proudly boasted of these murders and arrests, waiting for recognition from their equally murderous boss in Malacanang. Apparently, the more you kill (without basis), the more you are at favor with the top brass in this government.
With the notorious narratives of the police and military in their attempt to justify these killings through their nanlaban line and planting of evidence, we call for a halt to such police and military operations, for immediate and independent investigation on the said incidents, and for the perpetrators in uniform to be brought to justice. With the inclusion of Negros as among the areas where military deployment is intensified by the government under Memorandum Order #32, such violations among the numerous violations throughout the country strengthen the belief that a de facto martial law is being enforced by the Duterte regime, targetting human rights defenders, critics and numerous communities.
The Filipino people are all the more in peril. This government is a danger to the people. This holiday season, we are reminded that murderers do not have holiday breaks. The killing spree continues, courtesy of the Duterte regime.
We call on the Filipino people to vehemently oppose and resist these brutal, militarist and anti-people policies and moves of the Duterte administration.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.