11 massacres under Duterte, 51 victims, and zero accountability – Karapatan

“There is zero accountability for the atrocious crimes done by past and present regimes. September 1, 2018 will mark the 3rd year since the massacre of Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and school executive Emerito Samarca in Brgy. Diatagaon, Lianga, Caraga. The perpetrators, though identified, are still roaming freely in communities. They are being presented as “rebel surrenderees” even if they have always been in active military service of the Philippine Army as paramilitary members. We can never expect justice from the Duterte regime, considering it has merely continued the brutal massacre of peasant and indigenous peoples and worse, it has conducted the mass murder of the poor through its drug war,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor in a press conference in Quezon City.
Since the start of Duterte’s term, Karapatan has documented 11 massacres. The most recent is the wholesale killing of seven unarmed personnel of the National Democratic Front – Panay in Antique.
Clamor also noted “the gruesome and cruel manner of death apparent in the incidents, and the cover-up that follows thereafter”.  
In the massacre of three Higaonon farmers in Sumilao, Bukidnon in July 2016, one of the victims already raised his hands in surrender but was still shot; one perpetrator even pulled out a knife and slit the victim’s throat. In a separate incident in Ragay, Camarines Sur in May 2018, a victim’s penis was cut off.  In the most recent case in Antique, all seven victims were shot frontally and in close range.

The Karapatan official also emphasized the expressions of fear and panic apparent in the victims. In the massacre of four farmers in Fort Magsaysay in September 2016, three of the victims were found lifeless in an old hut, huddled together under a wooden bed.

“Massacres are part and parcel of the military’s operations, where soldiers take it out on civilians to offset their losses in the combat against the New People’s Army. It does not discriminate between women, children, or the elderly. In Cawayan, Bicol, a 70-year-old was killed along with her 2 grandchildren, aged 9 and 12,” added Clamor. 

“The wholesale killings of civilians are often veiled behind twisted justifications that they are NPA members, and are often coupled with other violations such as illegal arrests, forced evacuation, illegal search and seizure, and torture,” he further said.

“The climate of impunity in the country has made it possible for these massacres to continue. The fascist Duterte regime has absolved butchers in the government by allowing impunity to reign, and it hopes for its own absolution by betting on fellow fascists in government’s top ranks. The continuing attacks against the Filipino people isattacks against the Filipino people are indicative of Duterte’s vindictive and murderous government, spiteful against individuals and communities who continue to advocate for their rights. This, however, is not the end of the story. The families remember; the communities remember; advocates and supporters remember. Along with remembrance is the fight for justice and accountability. The names of the victims of all rights abuses under the Duterte regime will hound this government, inscribed in papers, placards and banners that are carried by the many who will continue the struggle,” concluded Clamor.