Reign of state terror during the first half of 2020
Report on the human rights situation (January-June 2020)
This summary report is based on Ang Bayan’s compilation of reports on various human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other armed agents of the reactionary US-Duterte regime during the first half of 2020.
Based on information collated by Ang Bayan, there have been at least 24,661 (136 per day) victims of human rights violations from January 1 to June 30 this year. The figure excludes the tens of thousands of civilians who were arrested and detained for purportedly “violating” lockdown protocols imposed during the pandemic.
On average, there are at least two cases of political killings every week, while 17 others were arrested and detained. Approximately 18 individuals were threatened and harassed daily.
Human rights violations
Political Killing 46
Frustrated Killing 21
Arrest and detention 446
Threat, harassment, intimidation 3,296
Destruction of property 72
Illegal search and seizure 46
Physical assault and injury 16
Food andeconomic blockade 1,200
Violation of the rights of hors de combat 12
These cases are a direct result of Duterte’s intense counterinsurgency campaign led by his National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Attacks are bound to worsen following the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act last July 3. The said law will further boost Duterte fascist arsenal to suppress people’s struggles especially amid increasing unrest due to Duterte’s tyranny which has further escalated during the pandemic.
We would like to note that numerous human rights violations are yet to be recorded as many cases in the countryside remain unreported due to intense military operations. Ang Bayan enjoins all Party units, both in urban centers and the countryside, to submit reports of additional cases to complete this summary.
Killing, frustrated killing, torture
There have been at least 106 victims of political killings across the country in the past six months. Majority of those killed (32) were farmers. Many were killed in Bicol (14) and Eastern Visayas (8), regions both covered by the Memorandum Order 32. Duterte issued the said order in 2018 which directly deployed additional battalions to the said regions.
There were four massacres during the same period. Massacre victims were falsely presented to have been been “killed in encounters” or to have “fought back.” The starkest case is the massacre of five farmers by joint forces of the 31st IB and PNP in Barangay Dolos, Bulan, Sorsogon on May 8. One of the victims was mentally challenged.
- Julius Marquez; Ennabel Balunos; Ma. Finela Mejia
2020-02-13 | Namatican, Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur
BHB (hors de combat)
- Julius Soriano Giron, Dr. Ma Lourdes Denero Tangco, at Arvie Alarcon Reyes
2020-03-13 |MRR-Queen of Peace, Baguio City
(hors de combat) 2 PKP, 1 sibilyan
CIDG, PNP-Baguio, AFP
- Jeric Vuno, Jerry Palanca, Robert Villafuerte, Raymundo Tañada at Jaime Tañada
2020-05-08 | Dolos, Bulan, Sorsogon
31st IB, 9th Special Action Battalion
- Rogen Orcales Languido; Danny Boy Tibay Pepito, Sr.; Jessie Boy Amador Pepito (minor)
2020-06-17 | Mahayhay, Placer, Masbate
PNP-Masbate, 2nd PMFC
The victims also include Carlito Badion, the national secretary general of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) who was killed in Leyte on May 28.
Badion was among the 12 civilians who were killed in May. Killings surged in May after Duterte offered a ₱2-million reward for anyone who will be able to kill or provide information on the whereabouts of New People’s Army (NPA) commanders.
On top of this, Ang Bayan also recorded at least 21 victims of frustrated killing and seven victims of torture.
Arrest and detention
At least 446 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention were recorded by Ang Bayan in the past six month. The month of May saw the highest number of cases with at least 218 victims.
Majority of those arrested (280) are farmers. The highest number of victims (140) were recorded in North Central Mindanao.
Ang Bayan also recorded 30 incidents of mass arrests during the same period. The biggest of these was the mass arrest May 18 of at least 100 Lumads in Barangay Mabuhay and Magkalungay, San Fernando, Bukidnon by operating 88th IB troopers. They were detained at the headquarters of the said military unit in Maramag and were presented as “NPA surrenderees.”
At least 147 rallyists and volunteers were also arrested since April 1 for purportedly “violating” lockdown protocols.
Additionally, Ang Bayan also recorded at least 3,296 victims of threat harassment and intimidation.
Attacks on communities during the Covid-19 pandemic
Even amid a health crisis, the regime deployed thousands of soldiers in the countryside to intensify its counterinsurgency operations and squander billions of pesos in its extravagant combat and psywar operations, bombings and drone surveillance.
Counterinsurgency operations during Covid-19 pandemic
(March 15-June 2020)
- Bombing, strafing, artillery shelling, aerial surveillance
- Bombing and/orstrafing 12
- Artillery shelling 5
- Aerial surveillance 54
From March 15, Ang Bayan recorded various types of military attacks in at least 625 barangays of 247 towns in 54 provinces simultaneous with the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic. The highest number of affected barangays were recorded in Southern Tagalog (149), next to Eastern Visayas (106) and Bicol (101). The said regions are among those that recorded the highest number of cases of human rights violations during the same period. Meanwhile, 26 incidents of aerial surveillance were also recorded.
At least 17 cases of indiscriminate bombing, strafing and artillery shelling were reported during the same period, 14 of which were perpetrated in Mindanao. Four bombings were recorded in North Central Mindanao and three each in Northeast and Southern Mindanao.
Most brutal of these was the indiscriminate dropping of 230-kilo (500-pound) bombs by the Philippine Air Force and 4th ID near Lumad communities in Barangay Mandahikan, Cabanglasan on March 27. After two days, the military dropped 10 rockets in the same barangay and shelled it using artillery cannons.
These attacks resulted in the evacuation of at least 15,768 residents from their respective communities across the country. Majority of the evacuees are from Western Mindanao (11,810).