NDF-EV condemns mass murder of peasants under Duterte regime’s terror campaign

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) strongly condemns the recent killing spree of peasants in the region and elsewhere by the increasingly authoritarian Duterte regime as they fight for their rights amidst suffering the El Nino calamity and other longstanding hardships. Yesterday, May 6, elements of the 20th IB in Sitio Inoman in Brgy. Tagabiran shot and killed Melvin Obiado Cabe, while seriously injuring his child who was with him and is currently confined in a nearby hospital.

The 20th IB is also believed to be behind the recent extrajudicial killing ofApolinario “Baba Pining” Lebico, barangay chairperson of San Miguel, Las Navas. Lebico had been against the military occupation of his village and other human rights abuses. Another barangay chairperson, Wilmar Calutan of Barangay Beri, Calbiga, has also been killed by assailants who were recognized by eyewitnesses as soldiers of the 46th IB after a guerrilla offensive. Soldiers have also repeatedly threatened to massacre villages suspected of supporting the New People’s Army (NPA).

The NDF-EV spokesperson, Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, said, “We condemn the killing of Melvin Obiado Cabe and the frustrated killing of his child. The consecutive killings of peasants in Samar is similar to what is happening in Negros through Oplan Sauron or the Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operations (SEMPO). This is the result of martial law conditions imposed on the said areas by Memo 32, Executive Order 70, Oplan Kapayapaan and the so-called National Task Force ‘to end local communist armed conflict.’ These killings in Samar are also maliciously attibuted to the New People’s Army to raise a Red scare and to justify declaring various areas as ‘election Red hotspots.’This paves the way for military intervention in the May 13 elections so Duterte could manipulate the results.”

Fr. Salas added the peasants are already burdened by El Nino, landlessness, steep declines of rice and coconut prices because of import liberalization, and other sufferings caused by the neoliberal Duterte regime. “The Duterte regime is attacking the peasants, who are the majority, to stifle dissent to his planned dictatorship that will entrench strong-arm rule, corruption and the interests of local and foreign exploiters. There are already mass evacuations in Northern Samar and Western Samar against military abuses. The peasants in Leyte are also starting to fight against the reign of terror through fake surrenders, death threats against supporting the NPA, and other rights violations by Duterte’s butcher Gen. Lope Dagoy. ”

The NDF-EV spokesperson urged the people to stand up, link arms with the peasants and fight against the Duterte regime’s tyranny. “The people must support the legitimate demand of the peasants for the ending of the military occupation of villages in the countryside and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The people can further go on to form a broad united front to hasten the isolation of the Duterte regime and pave the way for its ouster if Duterte steals the elections like Marcos in 1986. They can continue to fight for his ouster after the elections as Duterte tries to impose a dictatorship through his federalism scheme. Duterte and his mercenary AFP is nothing compared to the collective force of the broad united front that can remove him. The persevering people’s war will also certainly punish the worst human rights violators and plunderers and in due time overthrow the reactionary ruling system to pave the way for genuine change.” #