State forces kill 4 farmers


Four farmers were killed by agents of the US-Duterte regime this past two months, while its attacks and harassments against the church and other sectors critical to state fascism continue unabated.

In Surigao del Sur, two Lumad farmers were killed by 36th IB soldiers. This is part of the worsening attacks against the people of Northern Mindanao under martial law. (See details in related article below.)

In Zamboanga del Sur, elements of the PNP-Region 9 Public Safety Battalion killed Sergio Atay, 35, member of the Magbabaul-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. According to witnesses, Atay was travelling at the border of Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental and Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte in January 28 when he was stopped at a checkpoint, arrested and interrogated by police. The next day, he was found dead in Barangay San Roque, Rizal. He sustained five gunshot wounds in the head, was hogtied and bore signs of torture. Atay and his wife have long been accused as members of the NPA.

In Camarines Sur, Rowena Gavina was killed by soldiers of the combined forces of the 96th and 97th Military Intelligence Company, 5th Intelligence and Security Unit, and 83rd IB when her house was raided in January 30, at 6:00 a.m. in Barangay Tierra Nevada, Tinambac. The soldiers later presented Gavina as an NPA member.

Intimidation and harassment of priests. Six priests of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente were harassed in successive days.

Last January 30, around 17 soldiers and police intimidated and harassed Rev. Fr. Marco Sulayao. At 9:00 a.m., while Fr. Sulayao was travelling from Iloilo to Bacolod, three uniformed policemen crowdedly sat near him. Upon arriving in Bacolod, seven soldiers in full-battle gear sat next to him as he was eating. When he arrived in San Carlos City at 4:00 p.m., seven uniformed police watched him and took pictures.

The next day, two state agents spied on Fr. Cristopher Ablon, Fr. Marciano Carabio, Fr. Jerome Lito and Fr. Arnold Abuel at the IFI National Cathedral in Taft Avenue in Manila. The two remained in their position the entire day. They followed the tricycle which carried the priests aboard a motorcycle.

Harassment of activists. In January 23, at 4:30 p.m., three state agents tailed Reylan Vergara from Barangay Tagbak to Jaro in Iloilo City for almost half an hour. Vergara is Karapatan’s national vice-president. A week earlier, a certain Lt. Ronaldo threated Panay peasant leader Elmer Arlao. Ronaldo told Arlao to stop organizing peasants or he would end up like a Tokhang victim.

Meanwhile, student leaders Khim Russel Abalos of University Student Council; Jose Mari Callueng, national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines; Raoul Manuel, general secretary of the National Union of Students of the Philippines and Ivy Joy Taroma, Student Regent of University of the Philippines received threatening messages last January. They were all accused of being “NPA recruiters.”

Forcible evacuation of communities. Residents of entire communities were forced to leave their homes and livelihoods due to relentless AFP militarization and bombings.

In Samar, 34 families from Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge are now staying at the municipal health clinic for fear of military operations conducted by the 63rd IB and indiscriminate aerial strafing since January 15.

In Sulu, more than 300 residents of Barangay Latih in Patikul were forced to leave due to continuous military airstrikes against their community.

Meanwhile, on February 4, soldiers of the 94th IB, together with CAFGU member Renan Malig-on, went on patrol in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City. They forced their way into the houses of Bebong Alpeche and another identified as “Amay.”

Urban poor demolition. Despite having no court order, goons and police destroyed 31 houses in Riverside, Barangay Looc, Mandaue City last January 30, at 9:00 p.m. Two hundred residents lost their homes, as the local government did not offer to relocate them.

State forces kill 4 farmers