Nine Tumandoks who actively opposed the construction of a dam in their ancestral land were massacred, and 17 others were arbitrarily arrested by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and 12th IB on December 30, 2020 in villages along the boundary of Tapaz, Capiz and Calinog, Iloilo.
The massacre victims were identified as Roy Giganto, Mario Aguirre and Reynaldo Katipunan of Barangay Lahug; Maurito Diaz, Sr. of Barangay Tacayan; Eliseo Gayas, Jr. of Barangay Aglinab; Artilito Katipunan of Barangay Acuña; Jomar Vidal of Barangay Daan Sur; and Dalson Catamin and Rolando Diaz ng Barangay Nayawan, all in Tapaz town.
The victims were known minority leaders and members of Tumanduk, an organization of 17 Tumandok communities in Panay. Witnesses said that the fascists forcibly entered the houses of the victims in the early morning, ordered their relatives to get out, and then gunned them down. Some were slain while they were sleeping. Gayas was also tortured before being killed.
More than 300 fascists carried out operations in 10 barangays in Tapaz, and 200 in six barangays in Calinog.
After the crime, CIDG Region 6 commander Lt. Col. Gervacio Balmaceda maliciously presented the victims as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and were killed after “fighting back.” Various firearms and explosives were planted by the operatives in the victims’ houses.
Out of terror, around 500 individuals from the said barrios evacuated to various evacuation centers in Tapaz and Calinog.
The military has long been linking Tumanduk to the Party and the NPA. The harassment aims to suppress the minorities’ struggle against the ongoing construction of the Jalaur Megadam in Calinog and the plan to construct the Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project in Tapaz and Jamindan. The said projects are set to displace tens of thousands of minorities, and inundate their lands. Tumandoks are also resisting the 3rd ID’s landgrabbing of their more than 33,310-hectare ancestral land which is being used as a military reservation.