State forces kill Sagay 9 lawyer

One of the lawyers assisting in seeking justice for the recent massacre in Sagay City, Negros Occidental was shot and killed at around 10:50 p.m. last November 6.

Atty. Benjamin Ramos, secretary general of National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL)-Negros, sustained three bullet wounds after being shot by unidentified men in front of a store in Barangay 5, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. He was declared dead on arrival at the Holy Mercy Hospital in the said city.

According to the NUPL, Ramos is the 34th lawyer killed under the Duterte regime. He was among the first to provide help to the victims of the massacre of peasants in Hacienda Nene, Sagay City.

Ramos is also a founding member of the NUPL and served as lawyer for peasants and members of various progressive organizations. He was a lawyer of the “Mabinay 6,” who were implicated in an encounter between the AFP and the NPA last March.

Prior to his murder, Ramos was included in a police list of suspected protectors of rebels and drug pushers. This is part of the demolition campaign by the state against human rights defenders. Meanwhile, another Sagay 9 lawyer, Atty. Katherine Panguban, was charged with a fabricated case of kidnapping of a 14-year old massacre survivor.

Killings. A local paramilitary group, Dios Uno, mercilessly killed two farmers in Sitio Canggabok, Barangay Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental. Apollonio Diosana and Temestokles Seit Jr. were aboard a motorcycle when they were blocked and shot by members of the group. Dios Uno was created by the PNP-Sta. Catalina to assist in its “counter-insurgency” campaign.

Unidentified men shot and killed Danny Boy Bautista, 31, a member of Nagkahiusang mga Mag-uuma sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA) at the Compostela Public Market in Compostela Valley last October 31.

Bautista was an active member of NAMASUFA and participated in the ongoing strike of Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (Sumifru) Philippines workers demanding a stop to contractualization.

Strafing. At around 7 a.m. last November 5, guards of a landlord shot Aboy Mandaget, a 10-year old Lumad child, in Barangay Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon.

According to Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, 20 armed guards trooped to the land being collectively cultivated by the Lumads for palay production. The guards started destroying the crops, prompting the Lumads to barricade their farm. They were immediately fired upon by the guards. According to witnesses, an individual identified as “Totung” shot Mandaget in the foot. The child was immediately brought to the hospital.

Harassment. Australian nun Sr. Patricia Fox was eventually evicted from the country after being targeted by Rodrigo Duterte because of her firm stand for the oppressed and exploited under the US-Duterte regime.

Fox, 71, left the Philippines in the evening of November 3, after serving the workers, peasants and urban poor for nearly three decades. This came after the expiration of her visa, which was reclassified from missionary visa to travel visa by the Bureau of Immigration upon Duterte’s orders.

Aside from Fox, the Duterte regime also prevented known Italian critic Giacomo Filibeck from entering the country this year, along with another Australian, Gill Hale Boehringer. This is part of the regime’s crackdown on its critics, both Filipino or foreign.

Meanwhile, on October 25, the Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. in Talaingod, Davao del Norte received a letter from the paramilitary group Alamara and datus on the AFP’s payroll, instructing the teachers and students from 19 Lumad schools to leave. They used Datu Guibang, who is currently being held by the AFP, to terrorize the Lumad families in the area. The military also threatened to arrest known community leader Datu Doloman Dausay.
In Calamba City, Laguna, more police troops were deployed at the Light Industry and Science Park (LISP) 2 in Calamba City, Laguna to harass and sow violence against picketing workers of SMT-Philippines. The workers are nearing their 40th day of protest in front of the factory.

The police and LISP 2 guards have repeatedly blocked food and material support for the workers.

The workers set up their picket after the abrupt closure of the factory in Calamba City last October while negotiations with the company management were underway. The sudden closure was carried out to evade negotiations with the union and not due to the company’s bankruptcy. The SMT-Philippines is a known supplier for Epson and Toshiba.

Abduction. In Compostela Valley, elements of the 71st IB abducted Imelda Hayahay, 53, last October 15 from her home in Purok 1, Star Apple, Barangay Pindasa, Mabini. Hayahay is a member of Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Walog Compostela. Her family is subjected to constant harassment. Hayahay’s daughter Jeanyrose, a teacher of the STTICLCI, is being forced to surrender as a Red fighter in exchange for her freedom.

A few days after Hayahay’s abduction, Leonardo Mision, 62, a member of Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma ug Lumad sa Laak, was found dead in his farm in Barangay LS Sarmiento, Laak in the same province.

De­mo­li­tion. Demolition of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City resumed at the start of November. At the height of the typhoon last October 30, personnel of the National Housing Authority (NHA) destroyed the homes of almost 100 families.

The NHA earlier promised to give P30,000 to families who will voluntarily demolish their homes, but the agency retracted its promise and immediately proceeded with dismantling the houses.

The land where Sitio San Roque stands is part of the Quezon City Central Business District, and successive demolitions have been carried out in the area in the past years. Residential lands forcibly grabbed from former residents have been converted into condominums and shopping malls. A series of demolitions to destroy the remaining 300 houses in the area will proceed until the second week of December.