By Baretang Bikolnon Staff
MASBATE CITY – Hustisya Masbate adds manpower to document human rights violations in the province especially in the municipalities of Monreal, Cawayan, Milagros, Baleno and Aroroy according to rights group in Bicol.
Karapatan Bicol successfully reorganized the provincial chapter of Hustisya – an organization for the victims and relatives of extra judicial killings, political prisoners, and other human rights violations – on May 30 here.
Among the provinces in Bicol region, Masbate has the highest record of human rights violations with 105 documented incidents, 9 of which were extrajudicial killings of mostly farmers, since President Rodrigo Duterte seated.
Peasant Juanita Lepalam, 62, was among the victims who joined the group. According to her, she was harassed by a military in their house at Bgy. San Jose, Uson last September 2017.
“Ako ay nandun lang sa bahay ng nadatnan ako ng mga militar at biglang tinanong ang isang pangalan ng tao. Ang sagot ko naman hindi ko naman po kilala yan sir sabay sampal sa akin hanggang nawalan ako ng malay. Pagkagising ko nalang ay nahalungkat at tinapon na ang aming kagamitan, pati natitira kong kwarenta (40) pesos ay kinuha pa (I was just in the house when the military found me and suddenly asked a man’s name. My answer back then was “I did not know that sir” and he suddenly slapped me until I lost consciousness. When I was awakened, our belongings were ransacked, even my remaining 40 pesos was taken,” Lepalam stated.
“Kung pumunta o may operasyon man sila hindi lang sila manakit ng mga sibilyan dahil isa lang naman kaming mga magsasaka (If they will go or has operation, they will not just hurt civilians because we are just farmers),” she added.
According to Karapatan Masbate, there are continued human rights violations in their province due to militarization. However, the rights group stated that they lack manpower or volunteers who will document these cases.
Hustisya Masbate pledged to continuously support the rights group and cooperate in documenting human rights violations fro them to expose the tyranny of state forces and demand justice to the victims. (With report from Jessabel Tabios/BaretangBikolnon.com)