House Resolution 2539 on Peasant Mass Evacuation in San Juan de Buan, Samar, by Anakpawis Rep. Ka Ayik Casilao

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

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2539

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INTRODUCED BY
ANAKPAWIS PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE ARIEL B. CASILAO

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RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE FORCIBLE EVACUATION OF 1,409 PEASANTS OR 251 FAMILIES ON MARCH 8 AND 17 TO 26, IN BARANGAYS HAGBAY, SAN NICOLAS, CAN-APONTE AND SAN PEDRO IN SAN JUAN DE BUAN TOWN, SAMAR PROVINCE, DUE TO MASSIVE MILITARY OPERATIONS OF THE 87TH INFANTRY BATTALION OF THE 8TH INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE PHILIPPINE ARMY

WHEREAS, according to Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas, human rights group, 1,409 peasants or 251 families, composed of 454 males, 454 females, 424 youth and children, 66 elderlies and 11 pregnant women forcible evacuated from their communities in Barangays Hagbay, San Nicolas, Can-ponte and San Pedro in San Juan de Buan town, in Samar province, due to military operations of the 87th Infantry Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army on March 8 and 17 to 26, 2019;

WHEREAS, the group said that since January, residents of peasant communities have been subjected by the Philippine military to redbaiting, threats, harassments, intimidation, military occupation of communities, hamletting and forcible evacuations;

WHEREAS, documented abuses were the following:

· since January, elements of the Philippine military occupied the house of peasant Elsa Gabiana, resident of Brgy. Hagbay, and five other houses in Brgy. Can-aponte. The soldiers said that it would only be for a few days but it extended until March. The military occupation caused her fear, driving her to leave her own house;

· from January to March, soldiers carried out census and took photos of residents without their permission;

· on March 8, 2019, in Brgy. Hagbay, elements of the military carried out hamlet-like measures such as barring residents from entering and leaving, controlling goods to be brought inside, thus, triggering mass or collective trauma among peasants. On March 17, 2019, forty-two (42) peasant families left their community.

· on March 22, 2019, subsequently, peasant families from Barangay San Nicolas, Can-aponte and San Pedro evacuated due to massive military operations in their communities;

WHEREAS, on March 26, the peasant evacuees sought dialogue with the office of San Juan Mayor Joaquin Elizalde, Municipal Peace and Order Council, representatives of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and 8th IBPA to demand the stop to military operations and pull-out;

WHEREAS, after the dialogue, elements of the military organized a “peace” rally inside a covered court, with placards urging peasants to surrender as members of the New People’s Army, but with frustration, peasant victims instead held their own protest outside the streets, demanding the military’s pull-out from their communities. A military official yelled “damputin yan!” while his firearm pointing to Jade Cinco, an organizer of People Surge Samar Movement. But local police officers challenged his “order” asserting that there was no warrant against him. Four soldiers even cocked their long firearms against Cinco;

WHEREAS, desperate and fearing for their lives, the peasant victims returned to their respective communities, amid military presence. They reported more soldiers were deployed at their communities;

WHEREAS, various peasant organizations such Amihan or National Federation of Peasant Women, condemned the continued militarization of peasant communities in San Juan de Buan and Samar province. Amihan is holding its signature drive for its “People’s Petition for the Stop to Militarization in Peasant Communities;”

WHEREAS, people’s organizations in Eastern Visayas such as Sagupa Sinirangan Bisayas, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Katungod, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Eastern Visayas (Bayan) blamed the intensified militarization of peasant communities, as result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Memorandum Order 32, targetting activists in Samar, Negros island and Bicol region;

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 forcible evacuation of 1,409 peasants or 251 families on March 8 and 17 to 26 in Barangays Hagbay, San Nicolas, Can-aponte and San Pedro in San Juan de Buan town, Samar province, due to massive military operations of the 87th IBPA of the 8th IDPA.

Adopted,

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