2017–19 Negros Island killings
There are several incidents of killings occurred in separate places in Negros Island in the Philippines.
The Memorandum Order No. 32 was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on November 23, 2018 upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte; the memorandum directs the soldiers and police officers to "prevent such violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country." Even after the memorandum was signed, the incident of killings continued. According to Defend Negros Movement, the first recorded "extrajudicial killings" in Negros Island was Alexander Ceballos on January 20, 2017. The group also added that at least 84 persons have been killed since 2017.
Negros Oriental killings
On December 27, 2018, at 7 am, three armed men stormed the house of the Isugan family in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental and killed one member of the family. Few weeks later, their house was burned down by the assailants. One of the family members believed that the motive of killing is the "family’s involvement in the peasant organization."
March 30, 2019 military and police operations
On March 30, 2019, police operations were conducted simultaneously in three different towns in Negros Oriental, leaving 14 people killed while 12 others were arrested. According to the local police and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, who conducted the operations, said the suspects opened fire and resisted arrests while serving the warrant for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They added that the people were the suspected members of the Special Partisan Unit of the New People's Army (NPA). PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde asserted that the operation was "not the massacre" and those people were killed are those who "fought back".
Karapatan and UMA National Federation of Sugar Farmers condemned the incident, saying that these people were merely farmers and habal-habal drivers. As a result, the provincial director of Negros Oriental police and three other police officers were relieved from the post. Human Rights Watch and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura called for the investigation of the killings. Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago condemned the incident, holding the Duterte administration responsible for this. Elago also added that the incident brought the death toll of farmers to 197 under the Duterte administration.
On April 9, the Diocese of Dumaguete called for the "impartial investigation into the deaths of these 14 men." Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the families of the slain people "should file charges."
Four police officers were killed in ambush at Barangay Mabato in Ayungon town. According to the authorities, the police officers said that there was a presence of New People's Army in the area when they were attacked. Another source is that the police officers were allegedly being tortured after they were cornered by the groups. President Rodrigo Duterte has offered a P3-million reward to find the responsible. Duterte also visited the wake of the slain police officers.
Lawyer Anthony Trinidad was killed in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental after he was gunned down in an ambush by two gunmen in motorcyle and his wife was injured. Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has called for justice of Trinidad, who, "she said, represented 'political prisoners in Negros' and 'was reportedly among the names on a hit list by an alleged anti-communist group.'" The Defend Negros Network said in a statement through Facebook account that Trinidad is allegedly "among the names on a list of an alleged anti-communist group called Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista (KAGUBAK)."
On July 25, 2019, in Guihulngan a Guihulngan Science High School principal named Arthur Bayawa and his sister named Ardale Bayawa, and a Barangay Captain named Romeo Alipan were killed inside their homes by unknown gunmen. The Bayawa siblings were killed by at least 10 assailants inside their home. Forty minutes later, at 1:40 am (PST), Alipan was also killed by at least 20 unidentified gunmen at his home. Guihulngan City Police Station Lieutenant Colonel Bonifacio Tecson said that motive of killing Alipan was his joining the anti-insurgency campaign of the government.
A resident named Fedirico Sabejon of Barangay 3 in Siaton town was killed by the gunmen in a motorcycle.
Gunmen entered the house of village chief of Panubigan, Canlaon City Ernesto Posadas and killed him. The suspects fled in a white van and green pick up truck after writing “Mabuhay ang NPA” (transl. Long live the NPA) and “Traidor sa NPA” (transl. Traitor to the NPA) in spray painting. Five persons have been killed by unidentified gunmen including the Canlaon City Councilor Ramon Jalandoni, a 71-year-old barangay chief, Edsel Enardecido – the former mayor in Barangay Tampocon 1, and Leo Enardecido – his cousin, and Fedirico Sabejon; all of whom were killed inside their homes.
A man named Anaciancino Rosalita, a resident Barangay Bucalan in Canlaon was gunned down in broad daylight, according to Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NORPPO).
A Grade 11 senior high school named Joshua Partosa was gunned down and stabbed in the neck by four assailants aboard two motorcycles in broad daylight in Sibulan. A Barangay Kagawad, Raul Fat, and former Barangay Kagawad, Fernando Toreno, were gunned down in separate places in neighboring Negros Occidental.
Negros Occidental killings
October 20, 2018
The massacre occurred in Sagay, Negros Occidental when a group of gunmen shot and killed nine sugarcane farmers, including four women and two children, while they were eating dinner in a makeshift tent on a farm in Sagay, Negros Occidental on October 20, 2018. The farmers were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, and the massacre may have been motivated by on-going conflicts over land reform in the Philippines.
August 18, 2019
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned the incident and accusing the military, police and paramilitary forces of orchestrating the attacks. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called for the government to stop the killings and also urged the government to investigate the incident. Human rights group Karapatan said that the incident "might be attributed to the implementation of the Oplan Kapanatagan, Memorandum 32 and Oplan Sauron in the province."
Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said that he ordered the deployment of 300 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos to Negros Island following the series of killings. Albayalde has also raised the possibility that the CPP and its armed wing the New People's Army which places the blame for the killings to the government were responsible for the deaths as part of the group's propaganda. Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros have expressed concern over the killings occurred in the province.
Bishops Gerardo Alminaza, Julito Cortes, Patricio Buzon and Louie Galbines of San Carlos, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Kabankalan, respectively urged for the end to the killings and for those behind the incidents held responsible.
Col. Raul Tacaca was relieved from his provincial police chief of Negros Oriental following the April 2019 killings. He was reinstated on April 30, 2019 but was relieved again in July 2019 after a series of killings occurred on that month. The Philippine National Police launched an investigation whether there were lapses on Tacaca's part on dealing with the killing incidents.
There were calls[by whom?] to impose martial law in Negros island following the July killings, but PNP chief Albayalde has said on July 29, 2019 that there will be no such declaration despite the situation in Negros Oriental. On August 20, the United Methodist Church said that the deployment of additional troop forces "complicated the already worsening human rights situation" in the island.
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