Condemn the AFP for the massacre of Lumad teachers and companions
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the massacre of Lumad community school teachers Chad Booc and Gelejurain Ngujo II and their three other companions. They were mercilessly killed in yet unclear circumstances by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), specifically those under the 10th Infantry Division.
We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the victims. We are one with their outrage and in their demand for truth and justice.
We denounce the AFP for its campaign of disinformation to cover up its crimes. The 10th ID issues outright lies when it claimed that the victims were killed in an armed encounter between the AFP and the New People’s Army (NPA) last February 24 in New Bataan, Davao de Oro. The cadavers were dressed and posed with firearms to make it appear that they were NPA fighters. In truth, no such encounter took place in that place and time, based on reports of the NPA unit in the area. Where and how the victims were killed are still unknown.
This would not be the first time that the AFP has resorted to such type of disinformation in order to conceal the cold-blooded murder of civilians and unarmed people, especially peasants and Lumad people, as well as activists and revolutionaries.
The AFP has issued innumerable press releases making claims of fake encounters to justify the killing by soldiers of unarmed peasants claimed to be “NPA fighters.” In June 2021, three Lumad residents of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, including a young girl, were mowed down by AFP soldiers, then presented as NPA fighters. The same “nanlaban” lies were used to justify the murder of nine activists in Southern Tagalog in the infamous Bloody Sunday mass killing by police forces last March 2021. The same contrived narrative was used to justify the killing of captured revolutionaries including the recent murders of Ka Oris, Menandro Villanueva, Pedro Codaste and several others. Recently, the AFP also claimed of an armed encounter to conceal the killing of two children by troops of the 20th IB in Catubig, Northern Samar.
The AFP’s brazen distortion of the truth to conceal facts surrounding their crimes form part of their criminal impunity. The AFP’s lies have become more and more frequent as the AFP’s forces unleash their fascist wrath against the people. Such barefaced lies and crimes of murder and massacres must be exposed and punished.
The truth about the massacre of the Lumad teachers and their companions must come out. We support the demand of their families and friends for the cadavers to be immediately returned in accordance with their rights and basic human decency. We also support calls for an independent investigation by local and international human rights advocates and other interested groups.
The local unit of the New People’s Army has also been tasked to conduct its own investigation by way of contribution to determining the truth and circumstances behind the AFP’s massacre. Under the direction of the Party and local organs of political power, units of the NPA can punish identified perpetrators of the crime. Across the country, NPA units must also continue to mount tactical offensives and punitive actions, especially against forces of the AFP, PNP and paramilitaries which are responsible for fascist crimes against the people.