By Reynard Magtoto
LEGAZPI CITY – In Bicol region, the people are still mourning in the series of killings and yet recent extrajudicial killings have recorded anew in communities perpetrated by suspected state forces.
The series of brutal killings led the National Democratic Front (NDF) here in the region to asked President Rodrigo Duterte what change he pledged for the people, with his tagline “Change is Coming”.
“What change can be boasted by a regime which systematically removing all machinery that will ensure its accountability to the people so that his offensives will be completely undisputed against the people?” NDF-Bicol spokesperson Ma. Roja Banua raised this, among her questions while condemning recent civilian killings in Sorsogon province and the allocated P1,000 Commission on Human Rights (CHR) budget by the House of Representatives.
More than a year as President-elect, Duterte’s pro-people image subsided and the fascist, dictatorial moves appeared. Every day, new cases of killings have been news reported. Many lives have fallen out in the face of the triple war of the present regime while the ruling class and imperialist power continue to plunder the country’s resources.
According to Banua, no other change was felt by the people but a new and more intimidating threat to their lives. “The whole country plays a big cemetery… while the criminal AFP-PNP-CAFGU collects bloody medals and honor,” she said.
Latest killings of civilians
Civilian killings were recorded in two separate incidents in Sorsogon province this week. Within half a year, the AFP-PNP-CAFGU already killed 18 civilians according to NDF – Bicol.
NPA – Celso Minguez Command (CMC) expressed their condemnation on the worsening cases of extrajudicial killings of the military in their province and denied allegations that the civilians killed recently were their members.
Last September 13, Four men riding on motorcycles gunned down habal-habal driver Alvin Oplida, 26, at 10 am in Bgy. Bacolod, Juban while waiting for passengers at the parking area bound for Barangay Calmayon and Catanusan.
Oplida, resident of Brgy. Maalo, Juban, has long been harassed by soldiers and accused as NPA supporter.
While Village Councilor Salvador Atienza, 48, of Bgy. Trece Martirez, Casiguran was shot dead by unknown gunmen at about 4 pm while driving his tricycle on September 12. Atienza attended 4Ps beneficiaries meeting with his two minor daughters.
According to NDF-Bicol report, elements of the 31st IBPA had earlier threatened Atienza and other local officials of Casiguran town before the killing incident. “At the meeting, the military mentioned that they had two village councilors as target following the death of Captain Oscar Jetomo of Brgy. Marinas, Gubat,” Banua stated.
“Only the military has a clear motive to kill Village Councilor Atienza because they suspected him a member of the revolutionary mass organization and supporter of NPA,” Ka Samuel Guerrero of NPA-CMC testified.
Guerrero added that during the meeting to some barangay officials in Casiguran last August 20, the 31st IBPA troops indirectly boasted that they killed Bgy. Captain Jetomo.
Prior to the killing, Atienza filed a blotter report in the village and PNP-Casiguran on the first week of August when the mirror of his tricycle was stoned and broke by two unknown men who searched for him. At that time, Brgy. Trece Martirez was among the list of communities for 31st IBPA troop combat operations.
P1,000 CHR budget insult to people’s lives
The allocated P1,000 for Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is not just a matter of insulting the institution but also an insult to the lives and rights of the people.
“The 119 lawmakers who are traitors were thrilled to vote in favor of such proposal. They have once again proved how easy it is to manipulate the country’s legislative process in favor of their own interests,” Banua said.
“It illustrates the conspiracy and exploitation of the government’s ruling classes who have no respect for the people’s lives. It only affirms that in the eyes of trying-to-be-vigilant lawmakers and officials, there is nothing yet a single cent worth of life. It only exposes the ultimate rotten state willing to betray the people in exchange for the promise of power,” Banua expressed.
The worst according to Banua, US-Duterte regime combines in its anti-people war the effort to disable government institutions with a mandate to uphold and defend human rights.
Making armed conflict worse
Duterte sabotages negotiations and initiatives to pursue genuine peace in the country. He serves and protects AFP and PNP to compliment his all-out-war in various bloody forms. CA rejection of Gina Lopez, Judy Taguiwalo and Ka Paeng Mariano are subliminal that Duterte regime is not after the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms but for ceasefire alone.
Allotting P1,000 budget for CHR in 2018 will only slow down the constitutional mandate of GRP – Monitoring Committee to investigate human rights violations and monitor the Governments’ compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights.
It delimits the operations of Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) to monitor the implementation of and achieve the purposes of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) if the GRP – Monitoring Committee’s machinery, CHR, has limited budget to fact check reports of human rights violations around the country.
Duterte is pushing the people to armed themselves and fight back according to NDF-Bicol.
“The reactionary state is wrong if it thinks the people will kneel through its fascism.
In times when the rights of the people are blatantly violated, there’s nothing else for the people to rely but their own strength,” Banua said.
According to Banua, Duterte and all his minions must be held accountable to their people’s betrayal and their continued patronage of the imperialist design of suppression and violence.
“The long-term change the people hoping for depends on the success of the people’s democratic revolution,” Banua said. (BaretangBikolnon.com)