Eight civilians killed by military in one day

September 27, 2023


Karapatan demands a stop to what they describe as “steadily growing cases of violation against the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).”

By ASHLEYAH DE LA CRUZ
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Eight civilians were killed by state soldiers last Thursday, Sept. 21, in two separate incidents in Negros Occidental and Masbate, said human rights group Karapatan.

Farmers Jover and Aimee Villegas were gunned down by the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Sitio Basak, Luna in Placer, Masbate. Villegas was reportedly tending to his carabao when he was shot by the military. Upon hearing the gunshot, Aimee rushed to check on her husband and was also shot.

Karapatan said the victims were reportedly brutally shot until Villegas’ face was crushed and after which his eyes were gouged out.

The 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) later claimed that the two were members of the New People’s Army (NPA). However, Jose Rapsing Command (JRC) – NPA Masbate insisted that the couple has no affiliation with the organization.

“The lies of the executioners of the state forces are steaming out to justify their killing of ordinary civilians in Masbate,” JRC spokesperson Luz del Mar was quoted in a news report.

Jamaica, daughter of the victims, expressed her grief and called for justice through her social media account.

“SAKITA KAAU. DILI KO KADAWAT SA TANAN #HUSTISYA (This is so painful. I could not accept all these #Justice),” Jamaica posted on her social media account.

Meanwhile, in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Tabugon in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, six people were reportedly massacred by elements of the 47th IBPA.

The victims are Alejo delos Reyes; his pregnant wife Melissa dela Peña; Marjon Alvior; Bobby Pedro; Mario Mullon; and an unnamed woman. Reports gathered by Karapatan, identified the victims to include a rebel couple on medical leave because the wife was six months pregnant, three medical personnel of the New People’s Army, and a civilian tricycle driver.

The six were reportedly unarmed and aboard a tricycle when the military fired at them, later reporting that the victims were killed in a 10-minute armed encounter.

According to a news report, Brigadier General Joey Escanillas of the 302nd Infantry Brigade said the casualties were members of the South-Western Front of the NPA’s Regional Committee-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor. 6 NPA leaders slain in clash with Army in Negros Occidental.

Karapatan demands a stop to what they describe as “steadily growing cases of violation against the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).” The IHL prohibits attacks against combatants and civilians who are not directly engaged in hostilities.

The group also called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other independent bodies “to conduct serious investigations on these and other rampant violations of human rights and IHL.”
“We are appalled by the militarist policies and the climate of impunity imposed and perpetuated by the Marcos Jr. regime that enable its troopers to inflict civilian casualties cavalierly during military operations”, Karapatan said. (AMU, RTS) 



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