Human rights violations in Bukidnon
The list of the AFP’s crimes against the people further expanded as it placed Bukidnon under focused military operations. In 2018, more than five were killed while many other civilians were arrested. This year, 13 were reported killed while hundreds of villages are scoured by soldiers.
Among the most recent cases is the killing of Jeffrey Bayot, a Lumad peasant, last August 11 in Barangay Bongbungon, Quezon who was on his way home.
Two days before the incident, two 88th IB troopers in plainclothes fired upon Alex Lacay and Renard Burgos at Sitio Pag-asa, Barangay Salawagan, Quezon. Alex Lacay died on the spot while Burgos was able to escape. Both farmers were members of Kaugalingaong Sistema Igpasindog to Lumadnong Ogpaan (Kasilo), a Lumad group defending their right to their ancestral lands.
Also killed this year were Guillermo Casas, Liovogildo Palma and Joel Anino in San Fernando. Meanwhile, Datu Kaylo Bontulan was slain during a military airstrike in Kitaotao.
Last July, Datu Mario Agsab was shot inside his home at Sitio Mainaga, Barangay Iba, Cabanglasan. The suspects were identified as Sammy Diwangan, member of Alamara and Emboy Gayao, a CAFGU member under the 8th IB. Agsab was a member of Pigyayungaan, a Lumad organization.
Threat and harassment
Harassment and the spreading of malicious propaganda by the Duterte regime against human rights defenders and the people also continue unabated.
Last August 8 and 9, members of PNP went to a school in Manolo Fortich where Kristin Lim’s children are studying. They asked the parents who were waiting outside the school about Lim’s whereabouts. Before this, elements of the 1st Special Forces Battalion went to Lim’s residence in Barangay Damilag, Manolo Fortich. She was a former station manager of Radyo Lumad.
Elements of 1st SFB also conducted an anti-communist forum in the barangay hall of Damilag last August 7. Before the forum, soldiers roamed around the community and alleged that the community has already been “infiltrated by communism.”
Last August 2-4, the AFP gathered youth leaders in Quezon, under the guise of a Youth Leadership Summit, to propagate lies against the revolutionary movement. A similar event was also held at the Bukidnon State University in its opening of classes.
Persona-non-grata and militarization
Various barangays in Quezon were coerced by the military to issue persona-non-grata declarations against the NPA. Simultaneously, 300 civilians, alleged as members of revolutionary organizations, were forced to surrender as NPA supporters.
Residents of Barangay Merangeran in Quezon, barangays Lumbayao, Banlag and Dagat Kidavao in Valencia City were made to pledge their loyalty to the reactionary government last July 28.
Meanwhile, 30 families from Barangay Tugaya, Valencia City evacuated in their barangay hall after troops of the 403rd Brigade strafed their houses last June 22. Last March, 1,600 troopers of the 60th IB, 56th IB, 57th IB, 58th IB, Scout Rangers and 43rd Division Reconnaissance Company besieged communities in the towns of Cabanglasan and San Fernando. Before the siege, the communities were aerially bombed, mortared and strafed.
On February 2019, the AFP boasted that about 27 barangays have already issued their respective “persona-non-grata” declarations against the NPA. From 2017 to 2018, about 295 civilians have been coerced to surrender either as NPA supporters or members.
Military troops continue to occupy civilian infrastructures inside their communities. Since March, elements of the 8th IB are occupying Barangay Bontongon in Impasug-ong and barangays Manalog and Kibalabag in Malaybalay City.
This August, 8th IB forces attacked Sitio Bendum, Barangay Busdi in the same town.
Aside from these, human rights groups were able to document seven cases of illegal arrests this year. One of the starkest cases was the arrest of 2 minors in Sitio Sanggiapo, Barangay Sinuda, Kitaotao by elements of the 8th IB last February 18.