Hold the AFP accountable for the killing of Jevilyn Campos Cullamat

Kabataang Makabayan extends its deepest sympathies to the Lumad who on Saturday lost a friend, a champion, a comrade, and a revolutionary Red Fighter in Jevilyn Campos Cullamat, youngest daughter of Rep. Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna.

Jevilyn was mercilessly killed by the fascist 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion of the Philippine Army in an encounter in Marihatag, Surigao Del Sur. With full knowledge of her involvement with the New People’s Army (NPA) as a Medic, the fascist reactionary forces nonetheless murdered her and posed beside her corpse like it was a hunting trophy. These acts are both in clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) stating the rules of war — that respect for the dead must be maintained “regardless of ideology or political belief”; and that Medics should not be harmed and instead be protected at all times. Moreover, photos released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) show Jevilyn clinging onto a gun, even after death — a scene so obviously manipulated in a futile attempt to justify her murder.

Defiling the corpse of Jevilyn as part of a twisted state propaganda is very characteristic of the AFP’s terrorism and fascism. Desecrating the remains of fallen Red Fighters has always been an AFP policy—whether through using the body for graphic photo-ops or further maiming the dead, the AFP displays its brutal disregard for life and rules of war in every occasion possible.

Jevilyn is not the first victim of the state’s barbaric tactics. The same vile propaganda tricks were done with Josephine Anne Lapira and Kamil Manangan of Gabriela Youth, as well as countless other members of the youth and basic masses who were felled in battle as Red Fighters. It is without a doubt that the AFP thinks itself exempt from the IHL and Geneva Conventions that the NPA strictly adheres to in waging its just war.

In stories like Jevilyn’s, the state always omits from the narrative the events prior to the military encounter and loss of life. The story starts with the death of a revolutionary, and ends with fascist troops using the remains to propel their jabs at misinformation. The people are not told the reason why these martyrs chose the path of a guerrilla warrior in the first place. The masses are not made privy to the life these people led before they decisively took up arms. Time and again, the root cause of armed struggle is left out and ignored.

But in the same way, it is stories like Jevilyn’s that bring these reasons out into the light. These are the stories of abuse by military and paramilitary forces, forced evacuations, stolen lands, and hunger. These are the stories of those who realized that a battle fought on unfair ground is a battle that cannot be won. These are the stories of those who showed immense love for the people, for justice, and for peace —revolutionaries who will forever be cherished by both comrades and masses.

As the youth and masses share a moment of grief with the Lumad for the death of Jevilyn, we strengthen our resolve and enthusiasm to continue to amplify the revolution and resist the state’s fascism and terrorism! The death of one revolutionary can only spark more warm bodies to take up the arms left by those martyred in the cause.

The Filipino people must not let the reactionary state use Jevilyn’s murder to push its terror tactics and red-tagging. We should not let the military further exploit Jevilyn’s memory and death by using it against the Makabayan bloc in Congress and other progressive organizations.

Kabataang Makabayan calls on all democratic forces to unite and hold the AFP accountable for a war crime they so openly admitted and advertised. Demand justice for Jevilyn! Make the Duterte regime pay!

Hold the AFP accountable for the killing of Jevilyn Campos Cullamat