Witnesses in killing of Catubig children being harassed, says NDF-EV
One month since the brutal killing of two children in Barangay Roxas, Catubig in Northern Samar last February 8 by the 20th Infantry Battalion, the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas raises concerns over the safety and security of barrio residents especially the families of the victims and the survivors, amid intense militarization within and in neighboring barrios.
“Military encampment within the community is in itself a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Especially in the aftermath of the killing of two children, the intensified militarization in the barrios serves to harass, silence, and intimidate the families and survivors from seeking justice and pursuing cases against the fascist troops,” Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV Spokesperson said.
Barrio residents report of restriction of mobility and checkpoint, harassment, interrogation, red-tagging, and intense surveillance especially among survivors, witnesses, and families of victims. “Militarizing the community aims to mute the accounts of survivors from surfacing, allowing the AFP to continuously spin the blame to the New People’s Army and wash their hands of their brutal crime,” Fr. Salas remarked.
Despite the community’s clamor for their pullout, Salas said the AFP does not have the decency to leave the grieving community. “The AFP has no shame. In plain sight of the still grieving families of the victims, the perpetrators from the 20th IB freely roam the grounds where their children used to play,” Salas said.
The NDF-EV calls on the people to demand the immediate pullout of criminal state troops in Catubig for the truth to surface and to exact justice for the victims of AFP’s murderous crime.