Elements of the 88th IB illegally arrested and detained two minors in Sitio Sanggiapo, Barangay Sinuda, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on February 18 at around 11 a.m. The victims were identified as Loujean Antian Lumbatan, 17, a student of Sinuda High School, and Ara Mystica Antian Pangcat, 10, a student of Cabalansihan Elementary School. They were detained inside the camp until 11 p.m.
The victims’ parents and relatives who trooped to the camp to ask about their whereabouts were outrightly rejected by soldiers who bluntly denied that the two are under their custody. The victims attested that they were prevented from speaking out at that very moment. After the incident, the victims were brought to the headquarters of the 88th IB in Maramag where they were subjected to intense interrogation. They were only released in the afternoon of February 19.
Terrorism in Negros
Armed agents of the regime continue to victimize civilian residents in Negros. Added to the violations perpetrated by the military and police are recent cases of intimidation, destruction of property and illegal arrests perpetrated by elements of the 94th IB and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office 7.
Intimidation. Elements of the 94th IB blocked on March 2 more than 400 delegates of a humanitarian mission who were supposed to probe into the situation of communities that are currently being occupied and terrorized by armed state elements in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental. The delegation was composed of various organizations and formations that stand in solidarity with the victims of fascist and tokhang-style attacks of the 94th IB and PNP troopers against the residents of Guihulngan City under the guise of Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO) or Oplan Sauron.
Most recently reported among the attacks perperated by the 94th IB was the torching of Tisoy Pasinabo’s house in Sitio Panagtugas, Barangay Trinidad in the said city on February 24 at around 3 a.m. Members of the Pasinabo family were among the 87 residents who evacuated on January 28 due to relentless intimidation against them by the soldiers.
The residents temporarily evacuated to San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. Victims treated by doctors showed signs of trauma due to the terror and fear sparked by continuing military operations in their communities. In an interview, an elderly resident of Sitio Kasingan attested that she was not able to sleep since the soldiers arrived.
Militarization. Residents reported that 110 AFP and police troopers occupied sitios Tabalogo and Malatanglad in Barangay Budlasan, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental. Residents were terrorized by the house-to-house operations and investigation conducted by the military.
Illegal arrests. On February 22 at around 2:00 a.m., combined units of the 94th IB, PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Special Action Force, under the command of PS/Insp. Ruben E. Verbo Jr., illegally arrested five civilians in Barangay Budlasan, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental. The victims were identified as Guillermo Casipong Sr., 62, his children, Jerome and Guillermo Jr., Emilio Mahinay, and Francing Maribong. A soldier threatened to kill Mahinay and held him at gunpoint while being interrogated. The victims are currently detained in the Canlaon City Police Station. In Mabinay, Nimrod Balansag, a peasant-leader of KAUGMAON-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) was also arrested on February 15. All victims were slapped with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms.
In a statement by KMP on March 3, it condemned the accelerated fascist attacks against peasants in the province carried out under the US-Duterte regime’s Memorandum Order 32 which effectively placed the whole Negros Island under indefinite martial rule. It called for an independent probe on Oplan Sauron which is being utilized by the AFP and PNP in perpetrating human rights violations.
Meanwhile, progressive organizations, human rights defenders, academics, lawyers, journalists and church people in Cagayan de Oro condemned the list issued by the AFP which maliciously linked them to the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines. The said list was issued by the 4th ID last February.