JUNE 18, 2020
Caraganons are bound to suffer more atrocities and human rights violations with the transfer of the butcher 901st IBde, under the command of Brig. Gen. Gabriel Viray, to the 4th ID. The deployment was announced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday, which was made in line with Duterte’s target to “decimate” the New People’s Army by 2022. The brigade is set to operate in Surigao del Norte and neighboring provinces.
In a statement, the 4th ID commander Maj. Gen. Andres C. Centino ordered the newly deployed 901st IBde to “defeat the NPA” in the area which it preposterously claimed to be “on the verge of irreversible collapse” This was the same mantra used by past regimes when the 901st IBde was previously assigned to operate in Cotabato, and in Albay and Catanduanes where the brigade has failed to crush the people’s army. The 901st IBde is known for targeting civilians and sowing fascist terror, especially against peasants and activists. It has perpetrated numerous brutal crimes against the people with the aim of silencing them and suppressing their struggles.
The 901st IBde, however, has never succeeded in defeating the NPA. What is has succeeded in is leaving a bloody trail of killings, abduction, torture, mass terrorism and other violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, which has only pushed the people in those areas to join the people’s army in numbers.
With its deployment in the Caraga region, the butcher brigade is set to perpetrate more and worse crimes against the people, especially amid growing political and socioeconomic unrest caused by Duterte’s de facto martial law and the onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis.
The 901st IBde’s starkest crimes include the successive killings of six farmers in Albay in January 2010. Two of its victims were decapitated, one was burned and another’s neck was slashed. On February 18, 2009, troops of the 901st IBde indiscriminately fired an M203 grenade launcher at two houses in Barangay Balanac, Ligao City while carrying out clearing operations in preparation for the conduct of joint military exercises with US troops. Grenades hit and critically injured five civilians, four of whom were children aged 1-5 years old.
Earlier this year in Cotabato, the 901st IBde orchestrated several fake mass surrender ceremonies to line up the pockets of its officials and conjure the illusion that the military is winning the war against the NPA in Southern Mindanao. In March, the brigade staged the fake mass surrender of at least 28 civilians who were presented to have “received” a total of P3.7 million.