PRESS STATEMENT: Martial Law-instigated killings, abuses in Mindanao getting bloodier by the day

Press Statement 
Barug Katungod Mindanao 
February 7, 2019

Martial Law-instigated killings, abuses in Mindanao getting bloodier by the day

Barug Katungod Mindanao notes a steep rise in human rights abuses instigated by Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao even as the first quarter of 2019 is not yet even halfway through. The human rights trend signals a renewed sweeping crackdown on outspoken critics of the Duterte government’s murderous regime.

On January 28, 2019, peasant and Lumad leaders Datu Jomorito Goaynon and Ireneo Udarbe went missing. After intense calls for them to be surfaced, the CIDG-PNP admitted that they were held based on rehashed charges that are actually trumped-up cases. Their abduction was the military’s retaliation for Goaynon and Udarbe’s relentless and conscientious work in monitoring and filing of cases versus military abuses in Northern Mindanao.

On this same week, the Iglesia Filipiniana Independiente (IFI) Cagayan de Oro premises were vandalized with grafitti vilifying its clergy as New People’s Army members. These claims endanger the lives of churchleaders and churchgoers, with the military and police clearly behind the black propaganda operations. The PNP station is just a few meters from the church gates.

This unrelenting vilification had also been done against churches of the IFI in Pagadian, Oroquieta, and Ozamiz cities. Churches, church workers, even disaster preparedness personnel were not spared in the military´s campaign of red-tagging. IFI Bishop Antonio Ablon’s name was written in several vandal markings which appeared on walls of church premises and along highways. Among the people mentioned in the latest grafitti, aside from Ablon, are Sharwin Docto and Bishop Carlo Morales, and people´s organizations like the League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Even the government agency National Anti Poverty Commission (NAPC) was tagged as New Peopleś Army (NPA) sympathizers.

Also in Western Mindanao, a peasant leader was brutally murdered. The last time farmer activist Sergio Atay was seen alive was on the night of January 28, 2019. He was riding his motorbike on his way home when he was stopped, held, and interrogated by the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) checkpoint in Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte. Body marks show he was hogtied and tortured. He returned home mangled, bruised, bloodied and lifeless. Before the incident, Atay was receiving threats, heavily surveilled, and was frequently visited by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Lumad communities in the Caraga region are continuously victimized by aerial strikes due to the 36th IB´s vicious military operations since january 24, 2019. On a rampage, the AFP also murdered farmers Emel Tejero and Randel Gallego, justifying the extrajudicial killings by tagging them as NPA fighters. The two were part of a group of 4 men hauling abaca fiber to sell. The group was on its way home when they were waylaid by AFP forces who, without any provocation, open fired at them. Two others fell into the hands of these soldiers of doom and went home traumatized.

Barug Katungod Mindanao is alarmed by the increasingly preposterous justification being resorted to by the AFP and PNP in their cavalier killings of Lumad, Moro, and peasants. The common denominator is their categorization of political dissenters as “terrorists.”

Duterte´s wicked groupie in Congress led by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is cooking up an enhancement of the Human Security Act (HSA) which, if passed, will lead to the further incarceration of members of cause oriented groups, human rights workers, and ordinary civilians on the basis of mere suspicion as terrorists. It is now on it´s second reading in Congress.

Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao has drawn first blood in the first quarter of 2019. It is an ominous signal that 2019 will be the reign of the fascist pigs of the Duterte regime. But it will also be a year of further resistance from a people increasingly fed up by the evils of Duterte and his killing machine.

For reference:

Ryan Amper 

Bishop Antonio Ablon 

Source: Barug Katungod Mindanao facebook page

Date: February 07, 2019

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