The National Democratic Front – Negros condemns in the strongest terms possible the ambush/killing of human rights advocate Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises, and the wounding of CJ Matarlo, last November 28 in barangay Nangka, Bayawan City, Negros Oriental.
What makes the assassinations several-folds revolting is the fact that Badayos and her team were attacked while in the process of concluding a three-day fact-finding mission which investigated the struggle for land of poverty-stricken peasants in Negros Oriental.
The vicious attack upon these unarmed civilians by murderous minions of the US-Duterte regime, inspired no doubt by the AFP 303rd Brigade’s mindless neutralization campaign against the legal mass movement in Negros, gravely violated the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1998 GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which remain in force and effect despite the US-Duterte regime’s issuance of Presidential Proclamation Number 360 that terminated its peace negotiations with the NDFP and terror-tagged the revolutionary CPP-NPA-NDF.
Elisa Badayos, a staunch human rights advocate, was active for more than 30 years in various progressive groups. In the ‘80s, she was active in the women’s section of Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Panaghugpong urban poor group in metro Cebu. In 1994, she founded the Cebu chapter of the human rights group Desaparecidos, after her husband Jimmy was disappeared in 1990 by now-Senator Ping Lacson’s men of the Cebu Metrodiscom while detained at Camp Sotero Cabahug. Soon after, she went into peasant organizing in Bohol, and in 2010 started her work with the human rights group Karapatan in Negros Oriental.
As member of the Mantapi Ebwan Farmers Organization in barangay Nangka, Bayawan City, Eleuterio Moises has been involved since last year in a bitter land dispute with the Gaudiel landlord family. In particular, ex-Mayor Felix Gaudiel had been using not only armed goons and blue guards to drive away local peasants from their farmlots, but also the 79th IB, Cafgu elements and armed vigilantes in southeast Negros.
CJ Matarlo, a leader of the youth group Anakbayan in Cebu, is a volunteer documentalist in the series of fact-finding efforts of legal progressive groups in Cebu to investigate the peasant situation in the three main provinces of Central Visayas. She is now reportedly in Cebu recovering from her gunshot wound.
With this incident, the bitter land problem in Negros has claimed two more lives, and added two more reasons for land-hungry peasants to consider the path of armed revolution to finally solve the country’s centuries-old problem of landlessness, exploitation and oppression.
Duterte has clearly gone berserk with his so-called Oplan Kapayapaan counter-revolutionary campaign against the surging armed people’s movement by foolishly intensifying the Marcosian model of cowardly assassinating instead the leaders and members of unarmed legal progressive organizations.
This is the another incontrovertible proof of the US-Duterte regime’s rapid march towards a nationwide open fascist rule in the Marcosian tradition of martial law, as firmly manifested in Duterte’s widely-reviled three-pronged wars against the CPP-NPA-NDF, the Bangsamoro people, and small-time drug pushers-users.
This also dramatizes the depth and breadth of the sharpening inter-factional fight now ongoing between Duterte and his narrow power-tripping clique, against the various out-of-power and/or sidelined factions of the reactionary classes, which include ex-President Noynoy Aquino, the Liberal Party and Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.
In the face of Duterte’s latest machinations to monopolize reactionary state power and privilege, all democratic and patriotic classes, organizations, institutions and individuals are more than ever encouraged to advance their political and economic interests, forge a broad united front to isolate and overthrow the dictatorial US-Duterte ruling clique, and pave the way for the establishment of a democratic coalition government truly reflective of the national and democratic struggles of the Filipino people.