By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – Far from Marawi city where government troops are still fighting it out with the Maute extremist group, human rights violations have spiked, just more than a week after President Duterte put the whole of Mindanao under martial law through Proclamation 216.
Human rights group Karapatan documented cases of extrajudicial killings, bombings, arbitrary arrests and detention, in six provinces and one city, miles away from Lanao del Norte.
“We call for vigilance as Duterte accords the infamous rights violators Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) more powers that can further undermine civilian processes and suppress people’s rights,” said Karapatan in an Urgent Appeal posted in its website.
The violations were committed during military and police operations.
Karapatan noted that military and police checkpoints were also set up in Tacloban City, Leyte in the Visayas and in Metro Manila, while curfews have been implemented in some areas in Mindanao.
Karapatan is among the progressive groups calling on Duterte to lift martial law and resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Karapatan listed the following day-to-day cases:
Day 2: May 25
North Cotabato and Bukidnon
A Moro farmer was killed, while two others, including a minor, were wounded in the series of aerial attacks in North Cotabato.
Killed was Maguindanaoan farmer Abdullah Mamansag, 34, of Salat village, President Roxas town, who died from a shrapnel that hit his spine. His right leg was hit and cut off by a cannon. Wounded were two other Maguindanaoans: Norhamin Taligapin, 25, and “Dodong” (not his real name), 14. They were hit by shrapnels in the stomach and chest, and were brought to the Amas Provincial Hospital.
From 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., around 240 soldiers of the 39th and 72nd infantry battalion conducted a series of aerial bombings and fired at the Moro communities in sitios (subvillage) Pedtobawan, Campo, Apulan, and Centro Salat in Salat village, and in sitio Libpas in Tuael village, in the town of President Roxas, North Cotabato province.
Aerial strikes were also reported in the villages of Tangkulan, Anggaan, and Damulog in nearby Bukidnon province. The incident displaced more than 252 families, or some 1,000 individuals.
In Salat village, three attacks were launched, starting at 10 a.m., followed by another at 3 p.m., and the last at 7 p.m.
Residents spotted military helicopters hovering over their communities at 10 a.m., after which around six bombs were dropped. Soldiers on board an MG20 helicopter then strafed the villagers’ houses, and subsequently launched six 105 mm cannons towards the community. The same sequence was repeated at around 3 p.m., and later at 7 p.m. Karapatan said Salat village chief Abdillah Makalang confirmed the incident.
Soldiers of the 39th IB also fired at homes of residents with .50 caliber machine guns in Tuael village in President Roxas town in North Cotabato province, and in the villages of Tangkulan and Anggaan, Damulog, Bukidnon.
Some 30 Lumad, Moro, and Christian women were detained and harassed for one and-a-half hours by soldiers at the 6th Marine Landing Battalion checkpoint in Domulon village, Sultan Kudarat. The group had just come from a gathering led by the Ecumenical Women’s Forum. Soldiers interrogated the group’s leaders, and asked them to produce identification cards and permit to travel.
Two hundred sixty persons from Villages 76-A and 23 in Davao City were rounded up and questioned by the Davao City Police Office, for failing to show proofs of identification. They were brought to the DCPO to undergo a “verification process.”
Day 3: May 26
Davao del Sur
In Matanao, Davao del Sur, Daniel Lasid, 58, a Blaan council member of Akma Aksasatu Matanao (Unity of Matanao) was shot dead by five gunmen on three motorcycles. Lasid’s companion, Lindo Samling, was wounded and brought to a hospital. The two were about to cross the bridge in Kasagaran, Colonsabac, Matanao, when they were shot by gunmen identified by witnesses as soldiers of the 73rd IBPA. Lasid sustained 11 gunshot wounds, mostly to his head. He was on his way to visit his child confined at the Dalapo medical clinic when they were attacked.
In Compostela Valley, soldiers of the 66th IB barged into the picket line of striking workers of the Shin Sun Tropical Fruit Corp. in San Miguel village, Compostela town. The soldiers told the workers to go home and threatened to break the picket line. The strikers stood their ground, as the soldiers put up an outpost nearby, in violation of the 50-meter distance from the picket line as provided under the law.
In Davao City, the PNP Regional Office of Region 11 threatened to arrest leaders and organizers of rallies. The AFP, meanwhile, said it will exercise its power to censure media.
Day 4: May 27
Lumad activist Ana Marie Digaynon Aumada, 29, was shot dead in her house in Lucod village, Banganga, Davao Oriental. A Mandaya, she was a member of the peasant group Alyansa sa mga Mag-uuma sa Sidlakang Davao (Almasid). At around 6 p.m., a ski-masked assailant entered her residence and shot her. Two days before, on May 25, 2017, Lt.Col. Jake Obligado of the 67th IB summoned her to the headquarters supposedly “to clear her name.”
Farmer-activists Nestor Quintano, 51, and Remon Rodela, 25, were forcibly taken by 66th IB soldiers from their homes in Poblacion village, Maragusan, Compostela Valley. The two are members of the Unyon sa mga Mag-uuma nga Nakigbisog (Umana). Their respective wives said soldiers barged into their homes at dawn, and mauled their husbands – kicked them to the ground, stepped on their faces and tied their hands.
Soldiers alleged that the two are New People’s Army (NPA) members, and took them to the 66th IB camp, before turning them over to the Maragusan police. Karapatan said their families were not allowed to see them at the police station.
Davao Today reported that Rodela’s wife, Ronalyn Rabe, and Quintano’s wife Racquel, joined a protest in Davao City and pleaded to Duterte to help release their husbands.
Day 6: May 29
Two peasant couples were arrested by 60th IB soldiers and Bagani Force paramilitary in separate incidents in Laak, Compostela Valley. Kidjol Marcelo Antay Sr. and his wife Noeme were taken from their home in Andap village; later, Otik Catalino and his wife Maricho were taken from Malinao village by the same soldier-paramilitary team. All four are members of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Laak (Namulak), a local peasant organization in Laak, Compostela Valley. Witnesses said they were brought to the 60th IB camp in Dona Andrea Asuncion, Davao del Norte.