NDF calls on the people to condemn the worsening human rights situation in Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today called on the Filipino people to unite and stand against the atrocities brought by the US-Duterte regime through the 8th Infantry Division-Philippine Army. “They continue to condone the culture of impunity in the region, while increasing their record of human rights violations (HRVs) in their hope to crush the support enjoyed by the revolutionary movement from the Filipino masses,” said Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, spokesperson for the NDF-EV.

Fr. Salas noted that in Las Navas, Northern Samar, there have been three separate cases of HRVs by elements of 20th Infantry Battalion in a span of 10 days. Last October 2, Rey Christian Sabado, a peasant organizer under Northern Samar Small Farmers Association, along with peasants Anton Manoso and Edson Piczon, were illegally detained then tortured. “They were on their way to Brgy. San Francisco, Las Navas to conduct research on pest infestation in the area as part of the NSSFA campaign. The military also sent a picture of Sabado covered in blood and holding explosives to his worried family. Then on the night of October 3, families of the two farmers received threats of intimidation and harassment from the military forces.

“Only a week after that, two more farmers from Brgy. Epaw, Las Navas encountered military forces while hunting in the forested area between their barrio and Brgy. San Jose. Victims Bernardo Tuca Sr. and Allan Orsolino were interrogated, tortured then made to carry heavy military backpacks as they were forced to assist the soldiers in pursuing members of New People’s Army.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that on October 12, around 200 residents of Brgy. Sag-od were forced to evacuate their barrio after an encounter between the NPA and combined forces of the 20th IB and 81st Division Reconnaissance Company. The farmers had no plans to evacuate and leave their farms, if not for the military forces who threatened to bomb and strafe their homes just as they did in Marawi.

In Leyte, two civilians were killed in separate incidents. A 42-year old woman named Maureen Japzon was shot seven times by a riding in tandem near the COMELEC Office in McArthur, were she worked for two years. Japzon was a former journalist and founder of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. She was also an active mass leader back in her college years. Since then, Japzon has been subjected to intense military surveillance. Meanwhile, in Libungao, Kananga, another village councilor identified as Renee Superior was shot dead at around 4 in the afternoon. Japzon and Superior are the 30th and 31st victim of extra-judicial killing in EV since Memorandum Order 32 was declared last year.

“We urge all church, media, lawyers and other human rights advocates and peace-loving people to support the fight of Eastern Visayas in defending their rights against the mercenary and fascist troops of the US-Duterte regime. We must forge a broad united front to expose, isolate and oust the dicrator Duterte. Persevere the armed and unarmed democratic struggles to finally end the terror of his hated regime,” ended Fr. Salas.