2 peasants, 1 civilian gunned down in a week

Karapatan has criticized Duterte’s counterinsurgency program “Oplan Kapayapaan” as no different from the past administrations’ policies, targeting civilians and activists and peasant and indigenous peoples’ communities.

(File photo by Ruth Lumibao/Bulatlat)

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Two peasants and a worker were killed by suspected state agents in three separate incidents this week.

Yesterday, Jan. 22, the 31st year of the Mendiola Massacre, Anecito Lopez Jr., secretary-general of Kasama-Bukidnon was shot dead in purok 3, barangay Paitan, Quezon, Bukidnon.

According to human rights alliance Karapatan, Lopez was harvesting tilapia when Oto Balopenios, an alleged member of the Philippine Marines, arrived and fired at Lopez with a pistol.

Based on reports gathered by Karapatan, Lopez was labeled by local authorities as a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA) due to his active participation in the campaigns for the interests of farmers and farm workers. He received a call from the local police last week, instructing him to “surrender” to the Philippine Army. Lopez refused to heed the instructions.

Lopez, 55, is survived by his wife and 11 children.

Two days earlier, on Jan. 20, another peasant activist James Flores was shot dead by an unidentified gunman while he was at the parking lot of local mall in Tagum City.

Flores was a member of Pederasyon sa tanang Asosasyon sa mga Mag-uuma ug Lumad sa Agusan ug Davao (Pamulad), the local chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

Meanwhile, a body of civilian was found at the Dollete Funeral Homes in Trento, Agusan del Sur. Witnesses said elements of the 75th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army brought the body, identified as Arron Notarte, on Jan. 15.

Soldiers claimed that Notarte was an NPA guerrilla killed in a firefight with the military in Area 69, barangay Imelda, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Soldiers further claimed they recovered two AK rifles from Notarte. Witnesses, however, said that Notarte was a chainsaw operator.

According to Notarte’s employer who owns a falcata and coffee farm in barangay Imelda, when Notarte left on Jan. 14, he had in his possession P10,000 and some coffee seedlings. Witnesses said he was riding his motorcycle when he came across elements of the 75th IBPA. The soldiers reportedly came from an encounter with NPA in Surigao del Sur, where four of their troops were killed.

The spate in extrajudicial killings worsened since President Duterte terminated the peace talks and ordered his men to kill NPA guerrillas in November last year. On December 5, he tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA as terrorist groups following the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Karapatan has criticized Duterte’s counterinsurgency program “Oplan Kapayapaan” as no different from the past administrations’ policies, targeting civilians and activists and peasant and indigenous peoples’ communities. (http://bulatlat.com)

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