Wednesday, April 15, 2020

NCIP condemns slay of unarmed tribal militiaman in Surigao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 15, 2020): NCIP condemns slay of unarmed tribal militiaman in Surigao Sur (By Alexander Lopez)

KILLED UNARMED. Soldiers and villagers load onto a military vehicle the dead body of Estar Behing, 34, a government militiaman who was killed by armed men believed to be members of communist New People’s Army in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, on Tuesday (April 14, 2020). Authorities condemned the killing, as they called on human rights advocates to investigate the rebels' latest atrocity. (Photo courtesy of 36th IB, Army)

The National Commission on Indigenous People in Caraga Region (NCIP-13) condemned the killing of an unarmed militiaman believed to be perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

In a statement Wednesday, acting NCIP-13 Director Marlon P. Bosantog, said Wilson Estar Behing, 34, of the Manobo tribe, and member of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), was killed Tuesday while he was clearing weeds on his farm to prepare for planting in Sitio Baroboan, Barangay Carromata, San Miguel.

“As our world continues to plunge into the uncertainty brought about by the unrelenting assault of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic, the CPP-NPA-NDF is also doing its best, as it has always done, to sow chaos and terror throughout our country,” Bosantog said, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA's mother organization, and the National Democratic Front, the rebel movement's political arm.

The CPP-NPA-NDF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Reports said the victim was killed in front of his children. His body was retrieved the following day at about 9:30 a.m.

“Our farmers are indispensable front-liners in the fight against this pandemic," he said. "Our indigenous cultural communities are significant sources of our food supply. Let them plant and harvest, so that you (NPA) have something to steal."

CPP-NPA-NDF members, he added, are ransacking and snatching relief goods in Samar intended for the people with the direst of needs.

“This terrorist group is also extorting food supplies and relief goods from farmers all over our country,” he said, adding that last week they gunned down and killed Ildefonso Tobias, a farmer in Samar, while he was is tilling his fields.

A week before, they killed a Manobo tribal chieftain.

“To the CPP-NPA-NDF and to all your legal fronts, I beg you the impossible. Stop killing our farmers. Stop killing our indigenous peoples. Even the worst of evils must know reason,” Bosantog said.

Farmers, he said. are indispensable frontlines in the fight against this pandemic while indigenous cultural communities are significant sources of our food supply.

“Let them plant and harvest, so that you have something to steal. I understand you go hungry, too. Stop killing them and we will not speak of how a self-styled anti-government organization is living on stolen relief goods from the same government,” he added.

He assured fellow farmers and indigenous brothers and sisters that they will never be just victims, or survivors of Covid-19 and the CPP-NPA-NDF virus, but will be triumphant conquerors.

“Just as the human spirit has never seen defeat, Our Nation, we as People, with the blessings of the earth in our Indigenous Cultural Communities, with hope and resiliency, with grace from our One God of many names, be it Kabunian or Magbabaya, we will emerge triumphant. And we will be here to witness the CPP-NPA-NDF draw its dying breaths,” he added.

The police and military also condemned the killing.

“We condemn this act of the NPA considering that the victim was attending to his farm for a living. He only has in his hand's farm tools,” said Col. James Goforth, chief of the Surigao Del Sur Provincial Police Office.

He said the victim died on the spot while the perpetrators immediately fled towards the mountainous portions of Barangay Carromata.

The relatives of the victim were not able to immediately report the incident to authorities due to fear as they believed some NPA members were still in the area, he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Army's 36th Infantry Battalion said Behing was killed by rebels believed to be members of Platoon 2, Sub-Region Sentro de Grabidad 2130 of the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

“It is very clear that the CNTs (communist NPA terrorists) showed their true identities as murderers and butchers,” said Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, 36IB commander.

Diagmel also called on human rights advocates to investigate the NPA's apparent violation of the International Humanitarian Law.

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