State forces kill four farmers in Bicol


Four farmers were killed in Bicol, and four others were arrested by state forces a few days prior to Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.

Policemen gunned down Jemar Palero, member of the Organisasyon ng mga Magsasaka sa Albay, and Marlon Naperi of the Albay People’s Organization, in the evening of July 25, in Banao Bridge, Maharlika Highway, Guinobatan, Albay. The activists were painting a protest slogan “Duterte Ibagsak!” (“Down with Duterte!”) along the highway when they were killed. The police made it appear that the victims fought back, a claim belied by the their relatives. They were last seen being shoved into a van by the policemen.

Elements of the 83rd IB killed Louie Austria and Benjamin Delos Santos in Sagñay, Camarines Sur on July 20. Soldiers made it appear that the victims were killed in an encounter. They also claimed to have seized 12 high powered rifles.

Illegal arrest. The military arrested four farmers at Sitio Buscad, Barangay Tuban, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro on July 19 and charged them under the Anti-Terror Law. They accused Miguel Manguera, Fe Marinas, Sherlito Casidsid and Allen Dela Fuente of supporting the New People’s Army (NPA) and were implicated in an encounter between the AFP and people’s army on July 5. Two of them were also charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, while the two others were charged with obstruction of justice.

In Sorsogon, police arrested couple Ruel Llamera and Annie Jean Castillo, members of the Sorsogon People’s Organization, on July 8 while travelling home to Sorsogon City. Trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against them.

Harassment. Elements of the 62nd IB and 16th Scout Ranger Company indiscriminately fired their guns in Barangay Banwage, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on July 15. They also lobbed a grenade at the house of Alo Lojanio at Sitio Kapudlusan.

In Northern Samar, soldiers coerced officials of at least 17 barangays in Las Navas, 14 in Silvino Lobos, six in Pambujan, one in Catubig, and all barangays in Matuguinao to sign resolutions declaring the NPA as persona non grata.

Shelling. From July 20 to 21, the 87th IB shelled the forested areas between Km. 14 and Km. 17 in San Jose de Buan, Western Samar. The military shelled the area 20 times within two days which ravaged the farmlands of residents and forced the residents Sitio Salvacion, Barangay San Nicolas to evacuate.

In Northern Samar, two houses were hit when elements of the PNP-Special Action Force fired its grenade launcher at Barangay Hitapian, Catubig on July 10. The policemen claimed that they targeted an NPA unit which mounted an offensive on the same day. Simultaneously, policemen stole pineapples which residents sell. They also threatened barangay officials.

Evacuation. Larab reported last July 30 that residents of Barangay San Jose, Las Navas, Northern Samar evacuated due to indiscriminate bombings perpetrated by the military in the area. Almost all residents of the barrios of Sag-od, Epaw and San Jose in the said town left their homes due to military occupation. Residents in the barrios of Senonogan de Tubang, Hiyaot, and Balod in Silvino Lobos also evacuated, as well as residents of barangays Ligaya and Carolina along the boundary of Matuguinao, Western Samar.

State forces kill four farmers in Bicol