NDF-EV condemns martial law in San Jose de Buan, slams Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan for letting the military trample civilians under their boots

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas challenged today the sincerity of Samar governor Sharee Ann Tan in protecting the lives and livelihood of peasants from San Jose de Buan town in the province, after more than a thousand residents from Brgy. Hagbay, Brgy. San Nicolas, Brgy. Can-aponte and Sitio San Pedro fled for their lives after elements from the 87th Infantry Battalion insisted on using their homes as military barracks. The 87th IB has gained notoriety over the years for using civilian communities as their barracks, thus prompting mass evacuations in the towns of Samar.

NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas condemned Gov. Tan who made a no-show at the evacuation center despite the fervent appeal of evacuees for the governor to intervene. “More than 250 families have already left their homes since March 17 and taken refuge at the evacuation center, covered court and the town market. While the residents along with their local officials demanded that the 87th IB vacate their communities and stop using civilians as human shields, soldiers in full battle gear from the said battalion encircled the evacuees and harassed them non-stop. And to prove their supremacy over civilians, the soldiers even threw expletives and scolded the barangay captains in front of their constituents, forcing them to attend a ‘peace rally’ that is nothing but a malicious tactic to coerce the evacuees into declaring themselves as surrenderers.”

Fr. Salas supported the people for scoring Tan, who as governor and Regional Peace and Order (RPOC) chair should secure the lives and defend the rights of her constituents. “Gov. Tan should do better in understanding the plight of our poor peasants. The peasants fear that since the planting season has already begun, prolonged military operations will hinder their farming and will result to higher hunger incidence this year. They are on the brink of famine should Gov. Tan continue to disregard their appeals. The demand of the peasant evacuees is simple, for the military to stop using their homes as camps and causing fear should a possible armed encounter arise, and to set up their camps 500 meters away from the last house in the community as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.”

Fr. Salas also condemned the intensified military occupation of civilian communities in the hinterland barangays of San Jose de Buan as having the backing of the provincial government so as to secure votes. “The people’s revolutionary government is currently investigating the alleged involvement of Gov. Tan in the deployment of soldiers since February this year and the subsequent electoral surveys conducted by the military that blatantly campaigned against progressive party-lists and local politicians who uphold the people’s agenda. Furthermore, these surveys obviously favor the incumbent gubernatorial and congressional candidates.

“The people can thus make this election season an electoral struggle. They can support the candidates who uphold the people’s agenda for land, jobs, education, health and social justice. They can campaign against those who are supporting this state-sanctioned oppression and martial law imposition. In the final analysis, the cheating and state terrorism in the reactionary elections only enhance that revolution is the real solution to the people’s problems.”#

NDF-EV condemns martial law in San Jose de Buan, slams Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan for letting the military trample civilians under their boots