Justice still eludes families of Escalante Massacre victims after 36 years

The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the New People’s Army in Negros Island (AGC-NPA) spokesperson Ka Juanito Magbanua condemned state fascism that caused the cold-blooded massacre in Escalante 36 years ago.

According to Magbanua, families of victims continue to grieve because justice have eluded them up to now.

“Top police officials were reassigned to other provinces and were promoted while no one from the local government was held accountable or was tried in court,” he said.

On September 20, 1985 in Escalante City, 20 people mainly farm workers, youth, farmers, urban poor, church people and professionals participating in a people’s protest (welgang bayan) against the US-Marcos dictatorship were massacred by the combined forces of the Regional Special Action Force (RSAF), local Escalante police, Civilian Home Defence Force (CHDF) and other unknown perpetrators.

Social volcano

Magbanua described Negros as a social volcano that can erupt at any given time.

“Land monopoly of big landlords is vast in Negros Island at the same time majority of peasants and farm workers do not have land to till which resulted to insufferable poverty,” he said.

He added that the broad oppressed masses is seething at the undeclared martial law in Negros Island through Memorandum Order 32 of the Duterte regime and, despite state fascism, the workers and peasants will continue to struggle to achieve their aspiration to own land.

The rampant red-tagging, killing of activists, illegal arrests and filing of trumped-up charges, torture and other human rights violations of the fascist Duterte regime cannot contain the outrage of the people and will push them to take part in the national democratic revolution through armed struggle as the ultimate solution, he said.

Magbanua assured that whatever oppression and exploitation the tyrannical regime resorts to, the struggle of the entire people will continue until national liberation, democracy and peace based on social justice is achieved.

Historical Revisionism

The AGC-NPA in its statement also recalled how the military with some local officials of Escalante City intended to revise and whitewash what happened.

“A few years back, through a so-called ‘North Negros Peace Summit,’ they wanted to show that state forces were not guilty of the vicious massacre,” Magbanua said, “however, regardless of their efforts at historical revisionism, the butcher, fascist and terroristic character of state forces cannot be erased from the minds of the people.”

According to Magbanua, state forces are only enraging the people especially the families of victims and are exposing their true nature.

He also mentioned the 2,510 people the military declared during the said summit before as surrendered members and supporters of the NPA.

He reiterated that the surrender scheme has been used as a milking cow of military top dogs and some local officials for them to pocket huge funds from the government.###

Justice still eludes families of Escalante Massacre victims after 36 years