Reactionary state unconcerned over rights and welfare of Negrosanon children

This article is available in Hiligaynon

As an organization of women revolutionaries, the Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA)-Negros utterly condemns the cold-blooded massacre of the Fausto family by the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) last June 14 at Sitio Kangkiling, Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, especially the merciless killing of two children who were 11 and 15 years of age.

Focused military operations and the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) in the countryside has brought trepidation for people’s lives and security, particularly for children. While state forces carelessly shower bullets and bombs on peasant communities, ransack houses, illegally arrest innocents, coerce civilians to surrender, and abduct and murder ordinary folk and hors de combat, fear, anxiety, sorrow and anger are instilled in the minds and hearts of the people and their children. Trauma develops among children upon witnessing the lives of their father, mother, siblings and relatives taken away. In every destroyed home and each family victimized by state fascism, one to a thousand children are deprived of freedom to live as well.

The murder of brothers Ben and Raben Fausto is not the first incident where the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), currently headed by MGen. Marion Sison, violated children’s rights.

The case of Aldren Faburada, 17 years old, who was severely beaten and killed by the 62nd IB and was then tagged as an NPA member when he was only fetching his school module from their hut near the encounter site at Sitio Kansampo, Brgy. Bagtik, La Libertad, Negros Oriental last March 15, 2021 cannot be forgotten. The massacre of Everly Kee Jacolbe, 16 years old, her pregnant mother and her relative by the 62nd IB at Sitio Banderahan, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on July 26, 2022 was also strongly condemned by the people.

It can still be recalled that the 94th IB physically assaulted locals of Sitio Cunalom, Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Pedro Montecino and his son Christopher, 17 years old, on September 11, 2021 and tagged Christopher in front of the media as an NPA “child warrior” who surrendered named “Ka RR.”

In 2022, National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros monitored 17 cases of human rights violations by military troops on the island, mainly the 62nd IB and 94th IB, directly involving children. These were cases of extrajudicial killing, harassment and threat, indiscriminate firing and bombing, attempted abduction, forced surrender, and illegal detention.

Military troops occupying schools also cause intense fear as children and their teachers function as human shield for chicken-hearted soldiers. It disturbs the children’s education and places the community in danger.

Cases of 3rd ID troops targeting and attacking babies and children they suspect as sons and daughters of Red fighters happened one after another. This division of the Philippine Army is notorious for employing similar dirty tactics in warfare wherein children are used as bait to force the surrender and capture of their parents or relatives.

One well-known case was the 79th IB’s kidnapping of Baby Marx Cairo Salino, a two month old infant of NPA fighters, who was taken from his caretaker on January 13, 2021. The baby, currently with the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) of Escalante City, Negros Occidental, is considered a hostage of the 79th IB. Despite the rights of Baby Marx’s family to claim and care for him, the fascist and merciless personages of the CSWD and military stubbornly insist that the freedom of Baby Marx depends on their decision.

Other brazen cases of violations were the 94th IB chasing after and attempting to abduct four children aged one to two years old in different barangays of Himamaylan City last 2022. Meanwhile, just this year, on May 14 at Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, the 11th IB captured a mother with her one-month old baby and her husband; they were suspected as NPA members.

MAKIBAKA-Negros is concerned as well with reports that the 11th IB placed a P50,000 bounty on a two year old child of a Red fighter couple under the NPA’s Rachelle Mae Palang Command in Southeast Negros to use as hostage to coerce the parents to surrender.

Through the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac, the Philippine National Police (PNP), local government units, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and DSWD have become accomplices of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its scheme to attain the twisted fantasy of the US-Marcos II regime to frustrate the armed struggle of the people.

The AFP boasted of the implementation of deceptive peace and development programs and projects in communities such as the RCSP and Barangay Development Program which allegedly aim to build and protect a community affected by armed conflict, but actually these were used to draw a veil over rampant military operations and the spread of state terrorism in the area.

With the massacre of the Fausto family including their two children, clearly the reactionary state is unconcerned over protecting and providing the welfare of Negrosanon children. It is not conscientious in solving the roots of armed conflict because it implements militarist measures to suppress the toiling masses.

The MAKIBAKA-Negros welcomes the announcement of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that it will hold an investigation. All who uphold human rights are also urged to launch an independent investigation directly in the community of the Faustos and other areas where there are increasing cases of human rights violations.

However, the bigger challenge is concrete action after the investigation to hold the culprits accountable. It has been forever since the reactionary government was able to give justice to the lengthy list of human rights violations especially against children on Negros Island perpetrated by the fascist AFP, PNP, NTF-Elcac and other government agencies.

There should be measures on how to defend and give sufficient protection to children, may they be of Red fighters or civilians. With their young disposition, the two governments in the Philippines, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Democratic Government based in the countryside, have the responsibility to provide a bright future to children who are the hope of the nation. Children must be steered away from the danger of war and be given safe domicile and environment.

The MAKIBAKA-Negros also calls the entire democratic and patriotic force in society to defend and carry forward children’s rights as stated on the NDFP’s Declaration and Program of Action for the Rights, Protection and Welfare of Children.

The MAKIBAKA-Negros together with revolutionary mass organizations of workers, peasants, youth and other sectors of society is fearless in resisting state terrorism and its resolve to launch revolutionary armed struggle to give children and the coming generation a future of freedom and justice becomes ever more unyielding.###

Reactionary state unconcerned over rights and welfare of Negrosanon children