2006 Worst Year for Human Rights in Davao Regions — 3. Reign of Terror in Rural and Urban Areas

Dec. 03, 2006

3. Reign of Terror in Rural and Urban Areas

The AFP conducted massive military operations in rural areas especially those identified as priority regions namely, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao and Northern Mindanao. In these areas, the AFP imposed a state of martial rule and committed violations with impunity.

In the barrios, elements of the AFP conduct census as a form of population control and to identify suspected sympathizers and supporters of the NPA. After the census, the military issues a list of suspects which also serves as an order of battle.

Persons included in the list are visited and interrogated by Reengineered Special Operation Teams (RSOT) of the AFP. They are asked to surrender and cooperate with the military and to denounce their support for the NPA. In most cases, the people refused, for the simple reason that the militarys accusations were not true.

Refusal to cooperate with the military usually results to brutal punishment.

Sixty elements from the 73rd IB PA under by Lt. Col Rolando Bautista perpetrated the destruction of the Rural Missionaries projects and properties in Brgy. Sasso, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. The military elements hacked the daycare center and hosepipes last June 17, 2006 in a mere suspicion that those were projects of the New Peoples Army in the area.

The AFP also conducts public meetings where all residents are required to attend. These meetings are supposedly conducted to inform the people of the evils of communism. But these meetings usually end up with the military asking residents who voted for Bayan Muna, Anakpawis or Gabriela Womens Party to have their name listed and to surrender.

Civilian authority in militarized areas has been rendered inutile. Barangay officials, especially those intervening in behalf of their constituents, are victimized themselves.

This year, KARAPATAN national office documented seven barangay officials killed, all of whom were not affiliated to any peoples organization. They were suspected of being supporters and sympathizers of the NPA and were targeted because of their strong position against heavy military deployment in their communities.

The people in the rural areas are required to secure cedulas or Community Tax Certificates (CTC) to be able to go to their farmland or even just to wander around the barrio. Failure to present CTC merits physical punishment from the military.

Such is the case of a ten (10) families all are farmers from Magangit, Maco, Compostella Valley Province, were sixty elements from 72nd, 6th 2nd and 1st Scout Rangers harassed and forcibly entered the houses of the farmers last August 12, 2006. Soldiers are demanding for a CTC.

Massive military operations also victimized farmers with no known political or organizational affiliation. Some were on their way to or were working in their farmland when chanced up by soldiers conducting combat operations and patrols. AFP troops are also wont to terrorize communities to keep them from supporting the NPA.

In Paquibato District, Davao City, Alamaras lord it over the helpless civilians, sow terror, loot the houses and kill innocent individuals. Hence, following the killing of Brgy. Mapula Council Member Sulpicio Biron, who was shot to death by suspected Alamara killers in Sitio Balite, Brgy. Salapawan, Paquibato last February 16 and five days later Filemon and Trinidad Quirante were also stabbed to death by armed Ata-Manobo fanatics who were members of the paramilitary Alamara, around 746 families from Brgy. Mapula, Paquibato Dist. Davao City has sought refuge to their relatives in Lumiad, Panialom and Paquibato proper last February 25.

The Alamara, being the lumads recruited into the CVO who are armed, controlled and financed by the AFPs 73rd IB and the 72nd IB are used as pawns and hound dogs of the Army regulars and CAFGUs in the military counter insurgency operation. They are like the Ituman and Pulahan fanatics who along with the CHDF (Civilian Home Defense Forces) and the Philippine Constabulary, have wreaked havoc and caused the deaths of thousands of farming communities during the Marcos period.

The Re-engineered Special Operations Team (RSOT) headed by Lt. Victor Tan FA, GSA, PA, and more than 200 elements coming from composite units of 39th IB, 38th, 66th and 67th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army (PA) based in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur perpetrated the various cases of human rights violations against the Lumad communities in the areas.

On May 4, 2006, Lt. Turingan and Lt. Martinez from the 39th IB led the combat patrol at Sitio Semento and Tubison of Brgy. Astorga, bombings of E105 ensued in the course of the military operations terrifying women and children. 500 individual residents of Sitio Upper Langan, Binuangon, Balat, Mailom and Kibarangan, Brgy. Coronon evacuated to Sitio Talaw, Brgy. Coronon while another 311 households left Sitio Tubison, Brgy. Astorga and stayed at Purok Durian in Brgy. Astorga. 37 other households fled from Brgy. Sibulan. The military operations have also affected Brgy. Rizal, Mililia, Sinoron and Zone 1 of Sta. Cruz Davao del Sur

To intensify the full blown military rule in urban centers, aside from the presence of the Task Force Davao in Ecoland, the US-Arroyo government installed the 10th Infantry Division in Old Airport Sasa, Davao City.

The intensified military operations in most hinterlands in Southern Mindanao Region is brought by the economic positioning by the foreign large scale mining activities, banana plantation expansion by Multi-national Corporation (MNCs) and Trans-National Corporation (TNCS) in Compostela Valley Province.

In Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur province, construction of 4.03 Billion estimated costs of the two hydro power plants in villages of Tudaya to Sibulan towns starts this month and will dislocate thousand lumad farmers. The area has also been secured by the Philippine Armys 10th Infantry Division recently deployed in Barangay Kapatagan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

The social cost of terror to peasant communities is equally alarming. The martial rule implemented by the military in the countrysides has affected the economic life of the people. Curfews and other population control methods hampered farming and social activities. The militarys control of the food and other resources being brought in and out of the communities hindered trading activities.

Certainly, going by the principles and standards set by the international instruments of human rights guiding civil wars, the situation in Sta. Cruz, Davo del Sur, Talaingod, Davo del Norte, Brgy. Magangit, Maco Compostela Valley and in Paquibato Dist., Davao City are classic examples of a government armed forces disregarding the safety and protection of its civilian population.

Thus, Karapatan SMR holds the Armed Forces of the Philippines liable for violating CARHRIHLs Part III Article 2, section 15, Part IV Article 4 section 4, Part III Article 2 Section 6 and Part IV Article 4 Section 4, Part III Article 2 section 9 and Part IV Article 3 section 2, Geneva Conventions Protocol II, Part IV, Article 13 and CARHRIHLs Part IV Article 12. (Please Appendix C).

Continue reading: 4. Intensifying Trade Union Repression

comments powered by Disqus