ANAKPAWIS FILES HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 1546 ON THE AERIAL BOMBINGS, MILITARIZATION OF FARMER COMMUNITIES IN BATANGAS

Anakpawis files House Resolution No. 1546 on the Aerial Bombings, Militarization of Farmer Communities in BatangasAnakpawis files House Resolution No. 1546 on the Aerial Bombings, Militarization of Farmer Communities in Batangas

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
Second Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 1546

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INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES
ARIEL B. CASILAO
CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, EMMI A. DE JESUS, ANTONIO L. TINIO,
ARLENE D. BROSAS, FRANCE L. CASTRO, AND SARAH JANE I. ELAGO
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RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE MASS EVACUATION OF FARMER-RESIDENTS IN THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, BROUGHT ABOUT BY MILITARIZATION AND AERIAL BOMBINGS OF RURAL COMMUNITIES IN BATANGAS CITY AND LOBO TOWN AROUND MT. BANOI BY THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AND PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE

WHEREAS, on September 23, 2017, the human rights group Karapatan – Southern Tagalog received reports that the combined forces of the AFP, 2nd Infantry Division, 202nd Infantry Brigade and 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force, with the Philippine National Police – Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) conducted military operations in Lobo town and Batangas City, prompting the group and the Batangas Integrated Human Rights Advocates (BIHRA) to launch a fact-finding mission (FFM) to gather data on the impact and situation of affected farmer communities;

WHEREAS, around noon on September 24, a team of the FFM group arrived at Brgy. Santo Domingo in Batangas City, while asking for directions toward Brgy. Cumba, residents told them that they heard explosions and gunfire since 8 o’ clock in the morning; following were the circumstances;

• around 2 o’ clock in the afternoon, the FFM team witnessed 2 helicopter flying around that dropped bombs, which the residents claimed it was around the area of Brgy. Cumba and the explosion were so loud that made the ground shaking;

• upon reaching Brgy. Cumba past 3 o’ clock, the FFM team was able to meet residents on vehicles exclaiming “Giyerna! Giyera na!” and he asked where the team is going and said “Bakit pa kayo pupunta sa Brgy. Cumba ay giyera na at maraming sundalo!”

• the team also met a woman on a wedding gown crying in fear, subsequently, they witnessed many vehicles full of residents, including women and children on vehicles, purportedly to evacuate from the area;

• the team reached the barangay hall for a courtesy call where they met the barangay chairman lookig pale, and about 5 bonnet-cladding elements of the Philippine military were posting in front of the hall;

WHEREAS, on September 26, another team of the FFM arrived at Brgy. Talahib Pandayan in Batangas City and they were able to collate accounts from some barangay council officials that about 300 individuals took refuge at the covered court, in Lobo town, at Brgy. Banalo with 91 individuals, Brgy. Balatbat with 35 individuals, total of 426 individuals were affected;

WHEREAS, however, the FFM team were barred by local village officials to get the account of their resident’s circumstances that compelled them to massively evacuate from their communities, but as some residents approached them, they were able to converse with a farmer, accompanied by his wife and children, and his mother, and told them that a helicopter was bombing their community, thus, they evacuated in fear, leaving their possession and livestock;

WHEREAS, as the reports of displacement of farmers due to militarization reached the national media, lawmakers under the Makabayan Coalition joined a humanitarian mission on September 30, aiming to deliver relief to farmer families who evacuated, but were subjected to massive harassment, surveillance and were barred to reach the victims, with the military operations launched by the AFP and PNP affecting 12 barangays of Batangas City and Lobo town, leading to cancellation of classes in schools;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Human Rights to conduct a joint inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the mass evacuation of farmer-residents the province of Batangas, brought about by militarization and aerial bombings of rural communities in Batangas City and Lobo town around Mt. Banoi by the AFP and PNP.

Adopted,

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