Press Statement | October 21, 2018
Ka Juanito Magbanua
Spokesperson, Apolinario Gatmaitan Command
New People’s Army – Negros Island
The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the New People’s Army (AGC-NPA Negros Island) condemns in the strongest terms the massacre of nine farm workers manning a peasant camp-out in Hacienda Nene, Purok Firetree, Brgy. Bulanon, Sagay City, on the evening of October 20, 2018.
The Sagay massacre is the single biggest and most brutal incident of peasant killings under the Duterte regime thus far. The victims, sugarcane workers including women and minors, were mercilessly strafed using M16 rifles, with some of the bodies reportedly mutilated and burned afterwards.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are quick to blame their own heinous crime on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NPA. The people are more than aware, however, that the NPA is mainly a peasant army waging agrarian revolution to address the fundamental problem of landlessness and various other forms of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation prevailing in the vast Philippine countryside. The NPA is the fighting force of the oppressed masses; it does not carry out senseless killings like state troops and its paramilitary forces.
The recent bloodbath in Negros Occidental was carried out by mercenaries from the discredited Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA), a renegade band led by Arturo Tabara (deceased), Stephen Paduano, a.k.a. Lualhati Carapali, and other opportunist traitors who broke away from the CPP-NPA during the 1990s. The RPA has since operated simultaneously as armed goons of Negros landlords and politicians and auxiliary force of the AFP.
The culprits in the Sagay massacre are in fact under the command of the AFP’s Special Civilian Active Auxiliary (SCAA) unit stationed in Hacienda Mirasol, Brgy. Baterya, Sagay City, some 2 kilometers from the massacre site.
The series of heinous lies about the Sagay massacre being peddled by the PNP and the AFP serves not only to exonerate the landlords and their goons but also to further prop up the state’s current attempts to discredit the revolutionary movement and to suppress the growing clamor of various sectors to end the rotten US-Duterte regime.
Hacienda Nene (also referred as Hacienda Barbara) is part of the vast landholdings under the control of the family of incumbent Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr, and his son, Alfredo Marañon III, incumbent mayor of Sagay City. Hacienda Nene landlords and arriendadors (leaseholders), the Tolentinos and Sumbincos, are related to the Marañons. For many decades, Sagay has been Marañon territory. They have used the RPA and SCAA to terrorize and murder defenseless farmers who stand against their despotic reign. The Marañons’ reported offer of a P500,000-reward to pin down the culprits is an outrageously barefaced ploy to cover up their tracks.
The statements, meanwhile, made by Police Regional Office-6 Director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (NOcPPO) director SSupt. Rodolfo Castil and AFP Spokesperson Edgar Arevalo on the Sagay massacre are obvious attempts to gloss over state culpability. The massacre was immediately downplayed by Castil as a “selective shooting” incident, pointing to some planted evidence of empty shells from a .38 caliber revolver and live shotgun ammunition to insinuate that an exchange of fire between perpetrators and victims transpired. This shameless victim-blaming echoes the lies that the military and police fed the public to absolve themselves of the 2004 massacre of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac, the biggest sugarcane estate in the country.
Extrajudicial killings are escalating in Negros Island. Not one case has been seriously addressed by the police or local officials. Peasant killings are rampant in the whole country under the US-Duterte regime and the situation is expected to worsen with the impending extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. With all the hype surrounding Malacañang’s imaginary “Red October” terror scare, Sagay’s Bloody October has proven that it is the state itself and the ruling class of big compradors and landlords that are the clear and present danger to society.
The peasants of Negros shall not be cowed. The struggle for genuine land reform and national industrialization will continue to advance and broaden. The peasantry, the workers and other democratic elements will strengthen their ranks and call for the overthrow of the US-Duterte regime.
The brutality of the US-Duterte regime has clearly aggravated the crisis of the semifeudal and semicolonial system. The intensifying class contradictions in Philippine society further justifies the people’s war waged by exploited classes. State fascism impels the peasantry to take part in the revolutionary armed struggle and enlist in the New People’s Army. ###