NDF-EV condemns Duterte death squads for murder of two Samar barangay chairpersons, urges the people to stand up and fight for their rights

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) today accused the death squads of the Duterte regime as behind the murder of two barangay chairpersons in Western and Northern Samar. It noted that the killings were committed by motorcycle-riding assassins and occurred in areas where the New People’s Army had launched guerrilla offensives.

NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas said, “Initial reports have reached the People’s Democratic Government that on April 24, assassins on three motorcycles arrived around 9 p.m at Barangay Beri, Calbiga, which was celebrating its fiesta. They proceeded to the house of Barangay Chairperson Wilmar Calutan and shot him dead. It is known that after the April 23 NPA ambush on 46th IB troops, the soldiers had been calling on the barangay chairperson to come to a certain place, but he had refused out of fear for his life. Meanwhile, visitors from other barrios attending the fiesta had been told by soldiers to go away because they will be ‘butchering someone.’

“Meanwhile, riding in tandem assassins shot and killed Barangay Chairperson Apolinario Lebico and his companion who were on their way home to Barangay San Miguel, Las Navas Northern Samar. Two Army soldiers were recently killed in a tactical offensive by the NPA.”

Fr. Salas added that those murdered were local government officials. “The Duterte regime last week convened the National Task Force (NTF) ‘to end insurgency’ wherein the civilian government is compelled to be subordinated under the military’s counterinsurgency” campaign Oplan Kapayapaan. The killings of Calutan and Lebico are meant to send a chilling effect to those perceived as uncooperative with the military, against militarization or else unable to stem the influence of the NPA in their area.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson said the killings violate the CARHRIHL, human rights and international humanitarian law and even the 1987 constitution. “International humanitarian law protects civilians in times of war. Meanwhile, even the 1987 constitution asserts civilian supremacy over the military. Thus, the NTF is certainly an illegal and oppressive instrument.

“The killings also show the Duterte government is intent on dominating the May 13 elections to ensure the winning of his own men as well as allies. Duterte intends to railroad federalism as a vehicle towards an outright fascist dictatorship. If not, Duterte can very well declare martial and install a full-blown fascist dictatorship.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson said the people must stand up and fight for their rights. “The Samar killings portend the worsening of human rights violations, increasingly repressive measures and the rise of a reign of terror such as during the Arroyo regime’s Palparan solution in Samar in 2005. The people must stand up and fight for their rights because this is a matter of democracy against dictatorship and one-man rule. They must persevere in building the broadest unity to isolate and weaken the Duterte regime. Thos who value human rights and a just and lasting peace must unite to stop the Duterte murder machine in its tracks in Samar. The New People’s Army must step up its tactical offensives and punish the worst human rights violators and plunderers. Through armed and unarmed means, the people must unite and struggle against the Duterte regime and onwards to national and social liberation.”#

NDF-EV condemns Duterte death squads for murder of two Samar barangay chairpersons, urges the people to stand up and fight for their rights