Four farmers filed complaints before the office of the Ombudsman against the officers of the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
BY EDMUND B. SESTOSO
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Four peasant activists based in Negros Oriental and a human rights leader in Cebu City had lodged various complaints before the office of the Ombudsman against the officers of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army.
On January 26, 2009, peasant activists Maritess Saingga, Wenceslao Tijome, Rodulfo Tijome and Miguel Bagacay, all members of the local peasant group Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Payao-payawan (United Farmers of Payao-payman) filed complaints against a certain 2Lt. Dugho and Sgt. Canangga of the 79th IB based in Siaton, Negros Oriental.
The farmers’ group is an affiliate of the province wide Kapunungan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmayng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (KAUGMAON or Association of Peasants of Negros Oriental), also a member of the nationwide Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines).
Based on police reports attached to the complaint, the farmers were separately held and interrogated by Dugho and his troops from November 15-16, 2008 in Sitio Payao-payawan, Brgy. Nagbinlod, Sta.Catalina, Negros Oriental.
The farmers said they were accused by Army officials Dugho and Canangga of being supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The local chapter of human rights group Karapatan encouraged other victims of political persecution to come out and stand for their rights. It also urged the public to condemn attacks against human rights defenders and other political activists. (Bulatlat.com)