Justice for Sta. Catalina SEMPO Victims!
Early dawn of March 29, a company of PNP’s SAF-7 supported by another company of police combat mobile forces under 705th RMFB and further backed by two Army companies from 11th IB and at least a company of paramilitary auxiliary troops stormed the three Sitios of Barangay Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental.
This operation that employed overwhelming force in such small radius of not more than 150 square kilometers and inhabited by about 100 farming households is the culminating point of the Oplan Sauron-type operation or Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operation (SEMPO) launched by PNP and AFP under the direction of NOTF-ELCAC from March 22-April 1.
It aimed to terrorize the civilians in these remote areas the US-Duterte regime long unjustly tagged as NPA supporters not only by sheer display of armed might but more prominently by committing premeditated acts of terrorism and other heinous crimes.
In Sitio Payawpayawan, Marites and Benjie Saingga were still asleep with their 2-year old child at 3 am when a platoon of heavily-armed SAF barged into their house like wild dogs barking orders and training their weapons at them. After ransacking the house, the SAF casually produced a planted evidence comprising of an M-16 rifle and fragmentation grenade. Then they arrested the couple together with their child. Ironically, the Sainggas have a daughter serving in the military and a police officer brother-in-law.
Another column of SAF, about 54 of them, raided the residence of KMP-Negros Oriental chairperson Nene Solano. But fortunately, the peasant leader was not at home at that time. But the SAF continued anyway with the planting of evidence. This time with two .45 calibre pistols. Solano’s son-in-law who witnessed the raid was severely injured after being beaten to pulp by the raiding SAF. The same fate happened to the house of Wilmar Jiminez that was planted with one .45 pistol.
In Sitio Halway, two farmers were also arrested making the total number of civilians arrested to 5, including the 2-year old child of the Saingga Couple. As to serious physical injuries, 4 adolescent farmers were cruelly mauled in which 2 of them are minors.
But the worse of them all, was the brutal murder of two farmers in Sitio Bayog. Fredo Binangkil was grazing his carabao at around 5 am when he was waylaid by SAF and tortured for information of alleged NPA sightings in the area. Unable to provide them the information they were seeking, Binangkil was shoot to death. Then his house was assaulted and fired upon resulting in the death of another farmer Julito Solano, the brother of peasant leader Nene Solano, who was a close friend of Binangkil.
To cover-up their crimes, the SAF brazenly concocted a story in the news media about an encounter with the NPA that resulted in the death of two alleged NPA fighters and the seizure of their weapons.
The Rachelle Mae Palang Command and the entire revolutionary movement in Southeast Negros extend its solidarity with the families of the victims and the people of Nagbinlod and Sta. Catalina as it seek for justice and struggle to hold the perpetrators of these gruesome crimes accountable.
RMPC urges the people to intensify its organizing initiatives and launch all forms of struggles to expose what actually happened and highlight the call for justice for the SEMPO victims and the demand for the ending of SEMPO and similar fascist schemes under NTF-ELCAC and the ouster of its chief architect Duterte.
For its part, the NPA will intensify offensive military actions against police and military targets and other armed agents of the US-Duterte regime especially those are involve in the butchery of civilians and human rights violations. With intensifying state terrorism, we expect more people to enlist in the people’s army making the objective of SEMPO ineffectual and clearly a failure.
Quick Facts About Nagbinlod SEMPO
When: March 29, 2021
Perpetrators: SAF-7, 705th RMFB, 11th IB, CAFGU/SCAA
Sitios Covered: Payawpayawan, Bayog, Halway