House Resolution 2533 on the Peasant Mass Killing in Negros Oriental, by Makabayan lawmakers

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2533

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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, SARAH JANE I. ELAGO

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RESOLUTION URGING
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE MARCH 30, 2019 – MASS KILLING OF FOURTEEN (14) PEASANTS IN CANLAON CITY, MANJUYOD AND STA. CATALINA TOWNS IN NEGROS ORIENTAL, AS RESULT OF OPERATIONS CARRIED OUT BY ELEMENTS OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE

WHEREAS, on March 30, 2019, fourteen (14) peasants were killed in separate incidents in Negros Oriental provinces, by elements of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF). Eight (8) peasants were killed in Canlaon City, four (4) in Manjuyod town and two (2) in Sta. Catalina town, as reported by the human rights group Karapatan – Negros;

WHEREAS, the peasant victims in Canlaon City were:

  1. Edgardo Avelino, a 59-year-old peasant leader of Hugpong-Kusog Mag-uuma sa Canlaon (Hukom), affiliated with Kapunongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmayng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (KAUGMAON), the chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), resident of Sitio Carmen, Brgy. Panubigan of the said city; and his brother
  2. Ismael Avelino, brother of Edgardo Avelino, a 53-year-old habal-habal driver, member of Nagkahuisang Mag-uuma sa Panubigan (NAMAPA), with same residence;
  3. Melchor Pañares, a 67-year-old peasant of Sitio Tigbahi, Brgy. Bayog; and his son
  4. Mario Pañares, a 46-year-old peasant, of the same residence;
  5. Rogelio Ricomuno, 52 years old, of Sitio Manggata, Brgy. Masulog – 1; and his son
  6. Ricky Ricomuno, 28 years old, of the same residence;
  7. Genes Palmares, 54 years old, peasan resident of Proper Brgy Aquino;
  8. Gonzalo Rosales, 47 years old, also a peasant resident of Proper Brgy. Aquino;

WHEREAS, in Manjuyod town, the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) reported that the four victims were:

  1. Valentin Acabal, village chief of Brgy. Candabong;
  2. Sonny Palagtiw, village chief of Brgy. Panciao;
  3. Steve Arapoc, 28-year-old member of Kapunongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmayng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (KAUGMAON), peasant group affiliated with KMP Negros, resident of Sitio Basakan, Brgy. Panciao; and
  4. Manolo Martin, a resident of the town;

WHEREAS, based on news reports, the victims from Sta. Catalina were:

  1. Ano Enojo Rapada, of Brgy. San Pedro; and
  2. Franklin Lariosa, of Brgy. Talalak;

WHEREAS, on the killing of Edgardo Avelino, Carmela, his wife, said that on around 2am on March, forty (40) to sixty (60) elements of the PNP – SAF arrived at their compound. Five (5) of the armed intruders forcibly entered their house and totally wrecked the door. She was awakened by the commotion, saw her son being confronted and then being dragged outside their house by the perpetrators. Carmela yelled for help and tried to get hold of her son, while Edgardo, who was sleeping inside the room was being beaten by another perpetrator. Other family members were ordered to go outside of the house, after which they immediately heard three (3) gunshots;

WHEREAS, on the killing of Ismael Avelino, Leonora, his wife, said that their house was near Edgardos. At around 2:30am, while they were sleeping, they heard their door being rammed from the outside. After the door gave way, armed men forced their entry to the house. She saw at least 6 armed men, wearing camouflage with green ribbon on their arms, all wearing facemasks, and shaded eyeglasses to cover their eyes. At gunpoint, she and her children were ordered to lie face down on the floor, and then were dragged outside of their house where they heard three (3) gunshots;

WHEREAS, the families of the victims were barred from entering their houses, and were driven off few meters away by the elements of the PNP SAF. At around 7am, an ambulance arrived to pick up the remains of the dead victims. It was only in the Canlaon District Hospital, that the families learned that the victims died of gunshot wounds. Edgardo succumbed to three (3) gunshot wounds, one at the forehead, one at the shoulder and at the right cheek. Ismael, also died of three (3) gunshot wounds;

WHEREAS, on the killing of Steve Arapoc, his brother Mc Khillif, said that on March 30, 2019, at around 3:45am, more than ten (10) uniformed men of the PNP, in full-battle gear, all wearing facemasks and covered nameplates, raided their house. Their family members, including their elderly mother, 4-month old niece, their nephews, who are all minors, at gunpoint, were commanded to lie face down on the floor. The perpetrators were looking for the victim. When he stepped down from a staircase, he was dragged down and beaten several times. The victim was begging for mercy but he was shot four (4) times;

WHEREAS, the victims family feared for their lives as the perpetrators fired three times against the wall, handcuffed the other family members and threatened them with arrest. They lost personal belongings such as money and cellular phones;

WHEREAS, various peoples organizations condemned the mass killing in Negros Oriental, such as the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women.

WHEREAS, the groups asserted that these killings were brought about by the Synchronized Enhanced Managing Police Operation (SEMPO) and Oplan Sauron, as a local counterpart implementation programs to Memorandum Circular No. 32 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, targetting activists in Samar, Negros island and Bicol region;

WHEREAS, they added that at least 55 peasants and activists in Negros island fell victims to extra-judicial killings under the administration, and across the country, peasant victims reached to 200. This included the 23 peasant women, 28 elderly, 7 peasant couples and 9 children;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Human Rights conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the March 30, 2019 mass killing of 14 peasants in Canlaon City, Manjuyod and Sta. Catalina towns in Negros Oriental, as result of operations carried out by the PNP.

Adopted,

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