Propaganda article from the English edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 7): Martial law and human rights violations
Along with the continuing attacks by the AFP in Marawi City, air strikes, shelling and militarization also intensified in civilian communities where the AFP believes the NPA units are present, just as killings of activists and struggling people persist.
These contradict the statement of Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana that “martial law does not target the NPA.” AFP officials themselves, however, said that operations against the revolutionary forces will continue “whether or not there is martial law.”
Since May 24 to June 3, around 313 civilians were arrested, four were killed and nine communities bombed while thousands have evacuated due to militarization.
Under the AFP’s all-out war, Mindanao was already the hotbed of human rights violations. This has worsened under Duterte’s martial rule.
Last May 25, Task Force Davao and the Philippine National Police, led by Davao City police chief Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum, launched Oplan Bulabog in Brgy. 23-C and 76-A, where 260 civilians were arrested because they could not present identification cards. They were brought to the Davao City Police Office to undergo “verification” process. Majority of those apprehended were Moros.
On the same day, at least 30 Lumad, Moro, and Christian women who participated in the “Leadership Development and Capacity Building for Gender and Ecological Justice” by the Ecumenical Women’s Forum were accosted and held for more than an hour by the Marine Battalion Landing Team 6 at a checkpoint in Brgy. Domulon, Sultan Kudarat.
Their leaders were interrogated, asked to produce identification cards, and questioned on their permit to travel. The leaders were forbidden to take down notes during the said interrogation, while a soldier took pictures of the rest of the women.
Along with this, the local government of Davao City released a 30-point guideline which curtails the people’s political and civil rights. The PNP Regional Office 11 also threatened to arrest leaders and organizers of rallies against the government.
The AFP also threatened to exercise their “right to censure” (censor) or restrict the right to free expression during martial law in Mindanao. This also covers social media. According to AFP spokesperson BGen. Restituto Padilla, this measure is purportedly to prevent the proliferation of fake news and to ensure national security. He also warned that the AFP will arrest anyone who posts anything which will not help in the ongoing conflict in Marawi.
Meanwhile, two members of Unyon sa mga Mag-uuma nga Nakigbisog (UMANA) and residents of Brgy. Poblacion, Maragusan, Compostela Valley were accosted by the 66th IB last May 27. They were identified as Nestor Quintano, 51 and Remon Rodela, 25. The AFP accused them as members of the NPA but their families denied this. The two were taken to the 66th IB camp before they were surrendered to the Maragusan police station. Their families were not allowed to visit them while in the police station.
On May 29, 2017, combined elements of the 60th IB and paramilitary group Bagani illegally arrested peasant couple Kidjol Marcelo Antay Sr. and Noeme Antay in Brgy.
Andap, Compostela Valley. On the same day, another couple, Otik and Maricho Catalino were arrested by the same perpetrators. Both couples were active members of Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Laak (NAMULAK). According to witnesses, the couples were brought to the 60th IB camp in Doña Andrea Asuncion, Davao del Norte.
Most recently, Cesario de Rosa, a member of Kahugpongan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Maco (KAMAO) was arrested last May 31 by elements of the 46th IB in Compostela Valley.
Days before the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, May 21, peasant beneficiaries from MARBAI condemned the continuing harassment by private guards of Lapanday Foods Corporation. An army vehicle was also seen not far from the plantation. MARBAI raised concerns that they may be evicted again from their land.
On May 30, solons of Anakpawis Partylist condemned the demolition of Charlito Catalan’s house in Barangay Mapalacsiao, Hacienda Luisita, by a group of sugarcane workers under the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.
Throughout the entire first week of martial law, checkpoints were put up in major cities of Mindanao and even in Tacloban City. AFP units also declared red alert status in some parts of Visayas, Luzon and cities in Metro Manila. President Duterte also warned that he may suspend the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayas.
On May 25, a series of bombings and strafing in Moro communities was launched in sitios Pedtobawan, Campo, Apulan and Centro Salat in Barangay Salat and in Sitio Libpas in Barangay Tuael, President Roxas North Cotabato, from 5:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Not less than 240 troops of the 39th and 72nd IB led the operations. The villages of Tangkulan and Anggaan in Damulog, Bukidnon were also bombed. A 105mm howitzer cannon was mounted in Barangay Kisupaan, President Roxas, North Cotabato.
According to the residents, six bombs started to be dropped at 5:30 a.m. in Brgy. Salat. The military also strafed houses from their MG520 choppers and subsequently fired six cannons towards the community. At around 3 p.m., four more bombs were dropped, and cannons were fired six more times at the communities. At 7 p.m., bombs were again dropped, which resulted in the death of Abdullah Mamansag, 34, a Maguindanaoan farmer, while Norhamin Dataya, Cocoy Dataya, Alex Dataya, Nasordin Maman and Nor Taligapin were wounded. They were arrested by the PNP President Roxas after being brought to the hospital. Taligapin is currently detained at President Roxas police station while Dataya is at the Municipal Social Welfare and Development. The two were slammed with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of explosives and direct assault. They also underwent inquest proceedings last May 28.
On the same day, the 39th IB went on a shooting spree with their .50 calibre machine gun, attacking homes in the neighboring barangays of Tuael, Tangkulan, and Anggaan.
The AFP’s relentless bombings and strafing forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 individuals from these barangays. The military also blocked and harassed organizations extending assistance to the evacuees.
Based on Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region’s report, two days after the shelling and strafing, AFP troopers torched more than 30 houses in Brgy. Salat and barangays Tangkulan and Anggaan.
Bombings were also recorded in the towns of Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, last May 31 and Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, last May 29.
More than 150 B’laan families or 1,000 individuals also evacuated to the barangay hall of Brgy. Colon Sabac, Matanao, Davao del Sur last May 30 due to military operations of the 39th IB in their community.
Killings of activists
In Matanao, Davao del Sur, five motorcycle-riding gunmen shot Daniel Lasid, 58, member of Akma Aksasatu Matanao last May 26. Witnesses identified the suspects as members of the 73rd IB.
The next day, May 27, Ana Marie Digaynon-Aumada was shot inside her home in Brgy. Lucod, Banganga, Davao Oriental. Two days before the incident, Digaynon-Aumada was called to the detachment by Lt. Col. Jake Obligado of the 67th IB, purportedly to “clear” her name. Digaynon-Aumada is a Mandaya and an active member of Alyansa sa mga Mag-uuma sa Sidlakang Davao (ALMASID).
Jessie Cabeza was also gunned down by members of the 46th IB in front of his house last May 31. Cabeza is a member of Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Mabini.
Last June 3 at 5 p.m., unidentified assailants killed Lito Casalla, 52, in Balayan, Batangas. Casalla was among the farmers demanding to reclaim their lands against the Asturias Chemical Industry owned by Ramon Ang.
Since the AFP’s declaration of all-out war against the revolutionary movement last February, about 40 farmers, indigenous people, Moros and workers have been victims of political killings. Thousands were also forced to evacuate due to the series of military bombings in their communities, while the number of victims of threats and harassment continues to increase.
[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at www.philippinerevolution.info. Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]