February 15, 2018

No justice yet for Jovito Palparan victims

Intense militarization under Oplan Kapayapaan continue to suppress farmers in Samar

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today joined protest actions at the Malolos Regional Trial Court 14 to press for the conviction of butcher Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.

“Gen. Palparan deserves to rot in jail. As of today, no justice has been meted out to the victims and survivors of his atrocities,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

Palparan was jailed in Bulacan in 2014 following the kidnap charges against him in relation to the abduction of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006.

The notorious retired Army General is also responsible for the numerous political killings and abductions of activists in Central and Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas from 2001 to 2007 when he was the ground commander of 204th Brigade in Mindoro and Romblon, and commanding general of 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas and the 7th Infantry Division in Central Luzon.

Same situation in Samar

At the time of Palparan as commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Samar, human rights group KARAPATAN have documented 40 cases of mass evacuations due to intense military operations.

Farmers are concerned that evacuations may continue again due to Martial Law-like situation in Eastern Visayas provinces, particularly in Samar, due to the implementation of Oplan Kapayapaan. “We do not want a repeat of the mass evacuations and human rights violations that happened in the region at the time of Gen. Palparan. We want the AFP troops evicted from the peasant and civilian communities,” according to Sagupa-SB Secretary General Jun Berino.

The Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma (Sagupa-SB) demands the 14th, 87th and 20th Philippine army battalions, to cease military operations in civilian communities and stop terrorizing farmers.

Seventy (70) armed troopers belonging to the 14th IBPA, led by commanding officer Lt. Col. Manuel Leo Gador, have entered the communities of Can-avid town in Eastern Samar since January 31. The AFP troops have been threatening residents with six months to one-year sustained military and psychological operations. The soldiers have been conducting “census operations” that hamper free movement of residents and are asking for villagers’ IDs. Curfews are implemented in at least three Can-avid barangays – particularly in Brgy. Boco, Brgy. Pandol and Brgy Ilay.

Violating provisions of International Humanitarian Laws (IHL), soldiers are currently encamped in civilian infrastructures including barangay halls and houses of some farmers located at populated village centers. In December 2017, two farmers, both members of the local farmers association Asosasyon han Kablas nga Parag-uma in Can-avid (AKP ha Can-avid) were illegally arrested by Army personnel.

Farmers were delivering a sack of rice to their homes when they were apprehended by operating Army troops.

In November last year, Marabut, Samar peasant leader and head of Tag-alag Farmers and Fisherfolks Association Carlito “James” Badillo was harassed, tortured, and threatened by elements of the 87th Infantry Battalion. During the same month, three more farmers in Palapag, Northern Samar were abducted by elements of the 20th Infantry Battalion. The farmers and members of the Northern Samar Small Farmers Association (NSSFA) who were identified as Richard Avino, Teny Gerbon, and Arnel Aquino were illegally detained at the detachment of the 20th IB at Brgy. Opong, Catubig, Northern Samar.

Under Oplan Kapayapaan, the AFP pursues so-called Community Support Programs (CSP), known in communities as “peace and development” (PDT) operations.

Concerned farmers say the military brings them false promises of “peace and development” as evident in the spate of human rights violations committed against civilians. ###