Locals oppose military presence in Samar

This article is available in Pilipino

Residents of Sitio San Pedro, Barangay 3, San Jose de Buan, Samar gathered in an assembly last week to express their opposition to the military’s encampment in their sitio. The 87th IB started fencing off the sitio in the first week of June as part of their plan to build a detachment in the area.

To suppress the villagers’ unity, the soldiers threatened the barangay captain, sitio leader and councilor. They were warned of being charged and imprisoned if soldiers are attacked again by the New People’s Army (NPA)-Western Samar (Arnulfo Ortiz Command).

San Pedro has been militarized since January, even prior to the construction of the detachment. Numerous human rights violations have been recorded in the area.

On June 9, the 87th IB and Task Force Storm of the 8th ID shelled the mountains and farms near the sitio, causing distress among the residents. This was in retalation to an NPA harassment operation where a soldier was killed.

Due to the shelling and the military-imposed restrictions, most farmers were not able to tend to their farms. Others were forced to evacuate out of fear of being hit by bombs.

Last February, operating soldiers stole chickens from a farmer. They also threw away rice and palay of another farmer. That same month, a farmer working in his field was shot at by a soldier.

AB: Locals oppose military presence in Samar