Fishers’ group condemns killing of 2 farmers in Catanduanes, demands accountability from military and police
Albay, Bicol – The regional chapter of the national fisherfolk organization Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas), Lambat-Bicol, is seeking justice to two abaca farmers mistaken for being rebels and were killed by the combined forces of military and police early morning of September 22 in Panganiban, Catanduanes. Lambat – Bikol is the regional chapter of PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas.
Lito Aguilar, 33, and his brother-in-law Christopher Abraham, 31, both abaca farmers and residing in the said town, along with 3 companions, were catching shrimp for Aguilar’s scheduled wedding last Monday. But combined elements of the 83rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army Alpha Company and Police Mobile Force Company (PMFC) fired upon them, resulting to immediate death of the two farmers. Until now, the police and military have been claiming the incident to be a legitimate encounter between their forces and rebels.
“Mariin naming kinokondena ang militar at pulis sa walang awang pagpaslang sa dalawang magsasaka, at pagbabaluktot ng kwento sa tunay na nangyari. Pinabulaanan na mismo ng mga kapitbahay at lokal na pamahalaan na hindi mga rebelde sina Aguilar at Abraham. Sinungaling sa kaibuturan ang mga sundalo at pulis na pinagbintangan pa silang mga miyembro ng NPA,” Lobert Capispisan, Lambat-Bikol said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said justice must be immediately served to the two slain farmers by holding the perpetrators accountable.
“Kailangang mapanagot ang bawat elementong sangkot sa pagpaslang hanggang sa pinakamataas na mga opisyal ng kanilang unit sa pagtatangkang pagtakpan at bigyang-katuwiran ang krimeng ginawa ng mga sundalo at pulis. Hindi magaganap ang mga kagayang insidente kung hindi nagkalat ang mga militar sa komunidad ng mga sibilyan at naghahasik ng kaguluhan,” added Capispisan.
Meanwhile, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis solon Fernando Hicap emphasized that the incidents of human rights violations have intensified in Bicol because the region, along with Samar and Negros Island, was placed under state of national emergency under Memorandum Order 32. The memorandum order was declared last year by President Rodrigo Duterte that resulted to deployment of more troops in Negros Island, Samar, and Bicol.
“This brutal atrocity is brought about by the fascist mindset of the military and police. They are engrossed in deep paranoia, as they clearly know that they are hated by the people, thus, they immediate response is to pull the trigger without the necessary verification. We condole with the bereaved families and demand justice for the victims,” HIcap ended. ###
Photos by Baretang Bikolnon and Brgy. San Miguel, Panganiban LGU Office.