“The series of attacks threaten to undermine the country’s peace and order situation, the State’s failure to identify and punish the perpetrators further breeds a culture of impunity and violence.”
By ARNETH ASIDDAO
MANILA — Negros representatives have filed a resolution calling on the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, Committee on Justice, and the Visayas Development Committee to conduct an investigation into the killings in Negros island.
There have been at least 83 victims of extrajudicial killings in the island, according to human rights groups.
On July 23, lawyer Anthony Trinidad was gunned down by armed men in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental. This was followed by the killings of public school officials and siblings Arthur and Ardale Bayawa on July 25. On the same day, barangay captain Romeo Alipan was also shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
According to them, the killings have “gravely affected” the peace and order in the region, and left the residents “in constant fear of their lives.”
“The series of attacks threaten to undermine the country’s peace and order situation, the State’s failure to identify and punish the perpetrators further breeds a culture of impunity and violence,” the resolution read.
The resolution was forwarded by Negros Oriental First District Representative Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Negros Oriental, Second District Representative Manuel Sagarbarria, Negros Occidental First District Representative Gerardo Valmayor Jr., Negros Occidental Second District Representative Leo Rafael Cueva, Negros Occidental Third District Representative Jose Francisco Benitez, Negros Occidental Fourth District Representative Juliet Marie Ferrer, and Negros Occidental Fifth District Representative Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, together with other representatives.
The Makabayan bloc has also called for an investigation into the Negros killings in a resolution directed to the House Committee on Human Rights.
The resolution aims to look into the killings and other human rights violations in the Negros Island, particularly, following the issuance of Memorandum 32.
Memorandum 32 was released a month after the killing of nine farmers in Sagay, Negros Occidental on October 20, 2018. The farmers, including four women and two minors, were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers.
“Issuances that fall contrary to human rights must be halted, and perpetrators brought to justice,” said Makabayan in the resolution.
The Makabayan bloc has also filed a separate resolution asking the House of Representatives to condemn the spate of killings and urge authorities to put an end to the attacks.
In House Resolution No. 166, Bayan Muna Party-list Representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Women’s Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said the civilians were killed under Memorandum Order 32, series of 2018 which instructed the deployment of additional military and police forces “to suppress and prevent lawless violence” in Negros and other regions.
The lawmakers said that the killings and human rights abuses in target areas by Memorandum 32 show that the directive was “another measure for tyrannical repression of progressive, democratic organizations and individuals.”
They said that most of the victims were members of progressive organizations and tagged by the police or military as “rebel supporters” or rebels themselves.
They also pointed out that some of the killings were “set up” to suggest that the victims were killed by or involved with the New People’s Army.