PRESS RELEASE | September 3, 2018
Spokesperson, Apolinario Gatmaitan Command
New People’s Army Regional Command – Negros Island
Human rights violations in Negros have been intensifying especially upon the arrival of the 15th and 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) in the first half of 2018. The mercenary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) is obviously incapable of destroying the New People’s Army (NPA) by the end of the year, Duterte’s cocky deadline. They are venting their frustration toward the people in the countryside and are getting more desperate in their military operations.
In southern Negros, the 15th IB has launched sustained military operations for the past six months. Reports from the ground show that recent military operations in Hinobaan, Ilog, Candoni and Sipalay City in Negros Occidental and Basay, Negros Oriental are clearing out areas and shooing away specifically residents of Damutan, Sangke and Asia in Hinobaan and Pinggot in Ilog from their homes to sitio and barrio centers. This corroborates the information from reliable sources in the AFP that there will be a Balikatan military exercises in South Negros on October 2018.
Particular to Hinobaan, Negros Occidental, the following are the latest documented human rights violations committed by the 15th IB:
- Four farmers captured from Maatop in Barangay Sangke were forced to guide combat operations while threatened to be killed if said operations will be ambushed by the NPA. These farmers were also beaten up.
- A list of residents allegedly members or supporters of the NPA is being circulated and are threatened as targets.
- Rice paddies and crops of farmers were damaged. Rice seedlings were trampled on and destroyed.
- Peasants were forcibly held and were restricted from their farms.
- In Sitio Payab-on, fences of pastures were opened and farm animals set free. A carabao died from falling off a cliff but the owner could not do anything about it as they were not allowed to go to their farms.
- Sacks of rice were emptied and rummaged through in search of alleged hidden objects but nothing was found.
- Residents were ordered to leave and destroy their homes and houses in their farms and instead assemble in sitio and barrio centers.
- Photos of residents and youth were taken without consent.
The bloodthirsty 15th IB caused nothing but harm and terror. Worst, the people in Southern Negros are now full of fear especially from threats of 15th IB soldiers that arriving troops will be more merciless than they are.
While in Central Negros, the 94th IB is a similar monster. More than 105 troops of the 94th IB have been deployed in the cities of Guihulngan and Canlaon in Negros Oriental and the towns of Magallon and Isabela in Negros Occidental.
Elements of the 94th IB presented themselves as NPA and forcibly entered houses demanding for food. They wore sweatshirts printed with the CPP-NPA logo. At the same time, other 94th IB troops insisted on leaving their firearms in civilian houses and warned residents against reporting their presence to their Barangay Officials, especially the Barangay Captain. The farmers could no longer tend to their farms since they are scared of the presence of the military in their locality.
The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command condemn in the strongest terms the increasing gross human rights violations in Negros Island perpetrated by the 303rd Brigade led by Col. Alberto Desoyo. Bombings, mass dislocation, illegal detention, torture and extrajudicial killings are terroristic acts of the AFP and PNP wherein their most vulnerable victims are women, children and the indigenous peoples. They are only successful in exposing their true character of being the armed force of the Big Compradors and Landlords. They are not defenders of the Filipino people but protectors of the interests of big businesses and foreign corporations.
The AFP and PNP’s desperate fascist military actions in Negros run contrary to Police Regional Office 6 Director Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao’s statement that the NPA has weakened in Negros and is dwindling in numbers. In their desperation and to compensate their vain attempts in discrediting the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA they display fake surrenderees all over Negros. In fact, with the support of the basic masses and the absolute leadership of the CPP, the NPA in Negros is ever expanding in the whole island and is gaining strength. It has already been declared by the CPP that Duterte, the AFP and PNP’s dictator-wannabe boss, is the number 1 recruiter of the NPA with his militarist, fascist and strongman rule.###