Military violence target peasants, communities

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Consecutive cases of human rights violations against peasants were reported in the past weeks. Units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are involved in attacking civilian communities in violation of the international humanitarian law.

In Albay, state forces killed peasant Vernon Bonggat on February 20 inside his house in Barangay Tablon, Oas. His murder is considered as retaliation of state forces after the 49th IB suffered defeat against the New People’s Army (NPA) on February 15 in Barangay Ramay.

Two military state agents forcibly entered his room at around 8:30 p.m. before he was killed. Bonggat’s house is a kilometer away from operating forces of the 49th IB.

In Negros Occidental, houses of peasants Albascion Onopre and Rhoda Garnica in Sitio Cabagnaan, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City were straffed and destroyed by 94th IB soldiers on March 1. According to reports, the incident occured after an encounter reportedly took place between the 49th IB and an NPA unit in a separate part of the sitio.

Residents evacuated in fear because of the incident. About a hundred families evacuated to the barangay center from the sitios of Panagbaan, Florete, Cabalungan, and Daat after the incident.

Meanwhile, 62nd IB troops mauled peasant Lindon Mata at Sitio Bantolinao, Barangay Santol, Binalbagan on February 23. In Barangay Amuntay on February 14, the 62nd IB entered the house of Lindayaos who were with their children. While talking to Jelman Lindayao in front of their children, soldiers placed a bolo on Jelman’s neck.

In Bukidnon, soldiers ransacked the house of Nerisa Lumayag at Sitio Gabonan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on January 29. Lumayag was with her husband and children when soldiers entered their house. The incident terrorized the family especially the children. The family is accused of helping and assisting the NPA with its supplies.

In Abra, military agents harassed and interrogated peasant and Mabaca tribe Peace council member Jerome Agaid, a resident of Mataragan, Malibcong. Agaid was fishing with his 5-year old child in Barangay Gadani, Tayum when they were threatened and detained.

The 24th IB forced Agaid to “surrender” and turn his back against his own tribe. According to the report, the military exploited the recent hospitalization of his wife to coerce Agaid to cooperate. The soldiers promised to pay for his wife’s hospitalization if he follows their orders.

Military violence target peasants, communities