11th IB illegally detain residents in Santa Catalina after misencounter
On May 16, 2023, at least 120 combined troops of the AFP and PNP scoured several Sitios around the Carima River in Barangay Talalak, Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental. While conducting the military operation, their own troops fired at each other claiming at least 2 soldiers’ lives, according to witnesses.
The day after, the AFP indiscriminately fired in Sitio Undol, Barangay Talalak and illegally detained at least 10 residents including children and senior citizens, forbidding them to tend to their animals and farm lots in the area. The operation spanned for over a week and is ongoing as of this writing, covering mountain barangays in Santa Catalina and Sibulan.
The operation comes after the illegal arrest of couple Rani ‘Ka Jeje’ Casilao and Miralyn ‘Ka RV’ Fortunado in Sitio Tamlang of the same barangay on May 14. Fortunado had just given birth and was arrested with her husband while on medical leave and brought to the 11th IB headquarters in Salag, Siaton. Casilao was immediately forced to cooperate as a guide for the operation, threatened to be imprisoned if he does not agree.
State forces are working overtime to secure Barangay Talalak and nearby barangays to protect imperialist interest of mining and quarrying in Santa Catalina, Siaton, Sibulan, Pamplona, Basay, Valencia, and Bayawan City in Negros Oriental. The NTF-Elcac is mobilizing troops of the 11th IB and the PNP to neutralize and threaten the people in these areas to clear the way for foreign plunder of our own natural resources.
The RMPC-NPA condemns such atrocious crimes of the AFP/PNP/NTF-Elcac and commit to protect the people’s rights and welfare especially the farmers, farm workers, and indigenous peoples affected by the invasive mining, ecotourism, and land-use conversion operations in the area. We also call on the people to overwhelm the culture of fear and impunity imposed by the enemy and for them to stand up collectively against the worsening exploitation committed by the ruling class in Negros Oriental. #