State forces continued to perpetrate cases of human rights violations even amid the public health crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From April 6-19, at least 19 farmers were arrested in various parts of the country. A peasant was killed and a community was bombed in Mindanao during the same period.
Residents of Sitio Kapanal, Barangay Gasi sa Kiamba, Saranggani were awakened at around 5:00 a.m on April 19 when the military dropped at least four bombs near their community using an attack plane.
They grew more restless especially that their community is occupied by the 27th IB. The AFP has long been ravaging Gasi and nearby villages. There are currently 300 troops in the area. The Lapanday Corporation is situated in Kiamba and adjacent towns.
In Miag-ao, Iloilo, the 61st IB killed farmer John Farocillin, chairperson of the Alyansa sang Mangunguma sa Miag-ao and a council member of Pamanggas. Farocillin played key roles in advancing peasant struggles in the island.
Before this, 12 civilians, including five minors, were arrested by the 61st IB on April 14. The victims are residents of Barangay Igpanulong, Sibalom, Antique, and were gathering honey when they were apprehended. The NPA command in Southern Panay (Mt. Napulak Command) belied the claim of the military that the victims were caught during an encounter. It disclosed that no clash took place in the area.
In Butuan City, state forces arrested Proceso Torralba at Purok 3, Barangay Bonbon on April 11. Torralba or Tatay Sisoy is the chairperson of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte and has been at the forefront of peasant struggles in the province for three decades already. Toralba was among those implicated by the AFP in a raid of Red fighters against a military detachment in Agusan del Sur in 2018. He was slapped with trumped up kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges.
Two other farmers were arrested in Southern Tagalog and were presented as NPA surrenderees. The victims were identified as Lamberto Asinas who was arrested in Barangay Bundukan, Nasugbu, Batangas on April 16; and Nomeriano Fuerte in Barok Perlas at Sityo Tagbakin, Magsaysay, General Luna, Quezon Province on April 13.
In Nueva Vizcaya, the police arrested Ronaldo Pulido, chairperson of the Alyansa ng Novo Vizcayano para sa Kalikasan on April 6. He was arrested during the demolition of the residents’ barricade against the operation of Oceanagold. He was released the next day through the assertion of fellow residents.