De facto martial law exists nationwide – Karapatan

By Reynard Magtoto

De facto martial law exists since the state security forces have remained unrelenting in their attacks against poor Filipinos, from the past regimes to the Duterte administration according to Karapatan.

“Even without the formal declaration of martial law in Luzon and the Visayas, the military is on a rampage in killing, harassing, illegally arresting and  driving people out from their communities, through counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan,” said  Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, upon receiving reports from the organization’s chapters in Bicol, Negros, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos on incidents of human rights violations.

Karapatan condemns killing, arrest, harassment and forcible evacuation of peasants in Bicol, Negros, Quirino and Ilocos.

On July 1, in Brgy. Binubuhan, still in Guihulngan City, soldiers from the 79th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) burned down the house of  peasant Aurilla Cantela, fired at several houses nearby, destroyed and looted the houses of residents in the said community.

Around 300 residents evacuated from the village, after the said military operations. Soldiers forcibly entered and illegally searched the residents’ homes, destroyed  and stole their belongings, harvested and damaged their crops, looted their livestock and farm tools, cut off electric wires and water hoses to deprive the  resident electricity and water. They were being forced to admit that they are supporters of the CPP-NPA, while the young men were being coerced to  admit that they are members of NPA.

On July 19, Aeta peasant Antonio Narvaez, 33, was illegally arrested by soldiers from the 83rd IBPA and 9th Infantry Division in Brgy. Turague,  Sangay, Camarines Sur. Narvaez fetched water for his elderly uncle Miguelito and brought it to his house at around 4 p.m. that day. Since then,  Narvaez’s family was unable to find him.

For three days, they looked for Antonio, filed a blotter report at the barangay and called to media outlets Bombo  Radyo and ABS-CBN to plead to the military to surface Narvaez. On the morning of July 22, Capt. Randy Llunar of the 9th ID Public Affairs Office  announced on Bombo Radyo that they have custody of Narvaez, at the 83rd IBPA camp. Charges against him remains unknown to this date.

Read Family filed writ of amparo over 83rd IBPA’s illegal arrest, detention of civilian

On July 24, at 10:00 p.m., peasant leader Alberto Tecson, 45, of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma ug Mangingisda sa Bulado (NAMABU), an organization of  peasants and fisherfolks in Brgy. Bulado, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, was shot dead in front of his children by six (6) unnamed men wearing  bonnets.

The men knocked on the door of Tecson’s home, shot him, and then dragged him outside of the house and shot him again. On that same day and  the day before the said incident, soldiers went to his house, accusing him of transporting members of armed groups using his pumpboat. Alberto told them  that their accusations are false.

In Ilocos Sur, personnel from the Philippine National Police in the municipality of Salcedo, reportedly on orders of the military, were asking of names of  members of the Timpuyog ti Umili ti Karayan Buaya (TUKB). On July 25, at least six farmers from Brgy. Baybayading of the same town were reportedly  detained by soldiers from the 81st IBPA.

According to barangay officials, soldiers accosted the farmers at 9 a.m. and turned them over to PNP Salcedo just  before 7 p.m. The farmers were interrogated, with soldiers showing them eighteen names of alleged NPA supporters, all are residents of the same village.

On July 27, a still undisclosed number of residents of Brgy. San Ramos, Nagtipunan, Quirino have forcibly evacuated from their community due to  military operations of the 86th IBPA. Male residents from Brgy. San Ramos and Brgy. Sangbay were forced to go to the Nagtipunan municipal hall  “clear” their name, as all were suspected of being NPA members. The Philippine Army is reportedly engaged in a firefight with the NPA in the said area.

Palabay said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP, with their fascist orientation, were never ‘reformed’ even after Marcos’ martial law.

“With the very same institutions implementing martial law in Mindanao and all-out war against the people through Oplan Kapayapaan, there is no question why the  poor abhors the military and police, even with billions of public funds used for its PR and psywar gimmicks. This institution is being propped up by  regimes like Duterte’s, that has enabled State terror to promote unpeace and further oppression,” Palabay concluded. (

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