From: KARAPATAN Public Information
Date: 30 March 2019 at 11:55:51 am GMT
To: karapatanhr , email@example.com, KARAPATAN Human Rights Update on behalf of publicinfo
Subject: At least ten peasants reported killed in a day as police operations plague Negros Oriental
Karapatan vehemently condemns the series of killings by the Philippine National Police in different parts of Negros today, March 30, 2019. According to initial reports, separate incidents of killings of at least ten peasants simultaneously occurred in Canlaon City and Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental. In Canlaon City, eight residents were reportedly killed by elements of the Philippine National Police. In Sta. Catalina town, at least two peasant leaders were killed in similar operations. Karapatan is still verifying reports on four fatalities and at least 12 arrested local peasant leaders in Manjuyod town.
(Photo: Various people’s organizations held an indignation rally today, March 30, 2019, to condemn the killings in Negros.)
“This is unconscionable. We strongly demand an immediate and independent investigation on the incident. The Negros region has been a consistent target of escalating police and military operations, which have had severe and catastrophic consequences for the communities in the area. Ten killings in a day is the handiwork of vicious butchers and men-in-uniform intoxicated by power, thinking they can just do whatever they like without consequences. As we condole with the families of all those killed, we join our voices in the call for justice and accountability for these heinous crimes perpetrated by the government,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
Initial reports have identified the eight victims killed in Canlaon City as Ismael Avelino, 53, Edgardo Avelino, 59, Melchor Panares, 67, Mario Panares, 46, Rogelio Ricomuno, 52, Ricky Ricomuno, 28, Gonzalo Rosales, 47, and Genes Palmares, 54. All are residents of the area and were farmers. In Sta. Catalina, habal-habal driver and peasant leader Franklen Lariosa and Anoj Enojo Rapada.
Since March 29, these areas were reportedly militarized by elements of the 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
The Karapatan official attributed the series of killings to the continuing militarization of communities, as well as the Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO) or Oplan Sauron of the PNP in the region, implemented alongside the government’s counterinsurgency program. among other repressive policies. She also cited the Memorandum Order No. 32, series of 2018, which placed Eastern Visayas, Negros, and Bicol under a state of emergency.