HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Cagayan Peasants Denounce Unabated Killings
In Cagayan province, the
celebration of Christmas is farthest from the minds of members of militant
groups as death squads relentlessly attack them.
BY ABE ALMIROL
Posted by Bulatlat
TUGUEGARAO CITY – A
youth leader was killed on December 15 while a 64-year old farmer survived
an attack on December 17 in two separate incidents in Cagayan province,
The council of
leaders of Kagimungan, a local chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng
Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines), condemned the
killing of Anakbayan member Nelson Asucena and the attempted murder of
indigenous peoples advocate Roque Frence.
Asucena was allegedly
killed by soldiers in front of his residence in Barangay San Juan, Rizal,
Cagayan at around 10:30 p.m. on December 15.
“Six men in full
battle gear dropped by the Asucena’s residence and asked for water to
drink. While Nelson was collecting the cups used, he was shot by the armed
men who fled towards an army detachment in Bural,” Kagimungan said in a
statement. “The attackers are soldiers because if it were lawless
elements, why would they run towards an army camp?”
The Philippine Army
(PA) detachment in Barangay San Juan, which is part of Zinundungan Valley,
believed to be an NPA lair, Zinundungan Valley, is led by 2nd Lieutenant
Marcelo Pascua of the 21st Infantry Battalion.
Asucena was the chair
of the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) of his barangay and an active
member of Anakbayan. Kagimungan called for a speedy and impartial
investigation into Asucena’s death.
Two days after
Asucena’s killing, Frence was shot by unidentified men in front of his
house in Torkiya, Cabiraoan, Gonzaga, Cagayan at around 7 a.m. A bullet
penetrated his right leg. His neighbors brought him to a hospital in
Aparri, Cagayan but because he had no money, Frence was not admitted. He
was brought instead back home for treatment.
Frence is a member of
Dagup Igorot Association, an organization of Igorots (an indigenous tribe
in the north) in Cagayan. He worked with Anthony Licyayo, chairperson of
the Kagimungan peasant alliance, who was slain last month.
In the past months,
four persons were attacked by alleged “death squads” in Cagayan. Three of
the victims died, namely, Joey Javier, Licyayo and, most recently, Asucena.
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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