The brazen massacre of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others in Pamplona last March 4 is outright condemnable. It was an act of violence that demonstrated the systemic culture of impunity in Negros cemented by Duterte in 2018 when he ordered the deployment of additional AFP troops to the island thru Memorandum Order 32. Duterte incited the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to commit widespread violence and mount attacks against the people.
The AFP and PNP have long lost the trust and confidence of the Negrosanons. These state forces are the perpetrators of over a hundred extrajudicial killings especially of Negrosanon peasants and activists. They use violence to strike fear among the people and suppress the people’s legitimate struggles for their basic rights and welfare.
Though peasants are the main victims of state-sponsored violence in Negros Island, public personalities have also been targetted. Mass murders back in 2018 and 2019, most during Oplan Sauron (combined “killing” operations of the AFP and PNP), have resulted to the slaughter of 37 unarmed farmers and public personalities like barangay captains, a city councilor, an ex-mayor, DepEd educators and officials, and lawyers.
There were also human rights defender Atty. Benjamin Ramos and Canlaon District Hospital Chief Dr. Avelex Amor who were gunned down in 2018, Escalante City Councilor Toto Patigas in 2019, and Negros Occidental Provincial Consultant Marton Cui and ex-councilor of Vallehermoso Henry Hermoso in 2021.
In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the Guihulngan City Inter-Agency Task Force against Emerging Infectious Diseases, Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan, and her husband Edwin were also killed. Sancelan was number one on a hitlist of Army-backed vigilante group Kagubak (or Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista) that vilified and red-tagged her.
Not one of these victims have been given justice by the Duterte regime, all the more by the current Marcos regime. Of course, this is not surprising as fascist butchers are not capable of passing justice upon themselves.
The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command – New People’s Army Negros Island (AGC-NPA) sees through the grandstanding of Marcos and his loyalists. Talks of “giving justice,” “dismantling private armed groups,” “establishing normalcy and regaining the trust of the public,” “the day of reckoning,” “enforcing the full might of the law and restore peace and order,” and “military only there to keep people safe,” are smokescreen to cover the heightening militarization in Negros in the context of dismantling the revolutionary forces on the island within the first two years of the Marcos II regime.
The “hunt” for suspects in the Degamo slay is mere justification for another round of deployment of troops to Negros Island in addition to the 15 battalions of the Philippine Army and the PNP special forces already in place. The existing de facto martial law terrorizing Negrosanons will only worsen along with increasing extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations.
Instead of going after the mastermind and conspirators of the Pamplona massacre, the AGC-NPA expects more intense and violent massive attacks on guerrilla fronts and guerrilla zones of the NPA especially in Central and Southern Negros where the AFP and PNP absurdly claim the rest of the perpetrators are in hiding.
The AGC-NPA directs all guerrilla fronts to stay alert against military attacks. Seize the opportunities of mounting effective combinations of annihilative and attritive tactical offensives against the weak sections of the enemy. The people of Negros must be defended from vicious focused military operations and justice be delivered for all victims of state terrorism.#