AFP-backed paramilitaries kill 94 civilians under the BS Aquino regime

Int’l Human Rights Day countdown: “Tuwid na Daan” wakasan!

“We call on the Aquino regime to enforce the warrant of arrest against the members of the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary groups involved in the September 1 massacre of Alcadev executive director Emerito Samarca and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Juvello Sinzo. It has been three months since the massacre yet, these AFP-backed paramilitary members and the AFP units responsible for the massacre remain scot-free and continue to sow terror in the Lumad communities,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

Those with standing warrants of arrest are brothers Bobby and Loloy Tejero and Margarito Layno, all members of the Magahat-Bagani group attached to the 36th Infantry Battalion/4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

The Magahat-Bagani group is one of the 24 documented paramilitary groups in the country. The Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) is spread throughout the country while groups such as the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary (SCAA), ITDF (Inter-Territorial Defense Force), Alamara, Bagani-Magahat, Dela Mance, Sanmatrida, and New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR) groups are found in Mindanao. They come in so many different names, but are essentially AFP surrogates in their terror attacks against communities.

As of November 30, 2015, the AFP-trained and supported paramilitary groups were involved in the killing of 94 out of the 304 documented victims of extrajudicial killings under the BS Aquino regime. They were also involved in five out of 15 incidents of massacre.

The latest victim killed by the paramilitary group, particularly the De la Mance group, was Lumad activist Mankombite Mariano, who was shot then hacked last October 27. Mariano, 48, of the Talaandig tribe in the town of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, was on his way to pick some durian fruit along with 16 others, 12 of them are children. Mariano was hit in the left chest and left hip when the Dela Mance group fired at them. Mariano’s grandson Ryan Olimbayan, 10, was hit in the left leg but was able to run away and hide. However, he saw how Manlumakad Bocalas of the Dela Mance group approached and hacked his grandfather in the head, left shoulder, and left thigh. Ryan survived the attack.

“The regime’s monstrosity, that even children are not spared, speaks of the evil tactics of the counterinsurgency program of BS Aquino, Oplan Bayanihan. The attempt to pit the people in the community against each other ‘through winning the hearts and minds’ is simply sugar-coating its ‘divide and rule’ tactic. In truth, the AFP provides arms to those who can be used against its perceived enemies,” Palabay said.

“By providing guns and some cash, the AFP attempts to control civilians, even if they have to kill their own kind. Such is the case of Loreto Mayor Dario Otaza,” Palabay said. Mayor Otaza, whose death was owned up by the New People’s Army, “Our documentation showed Otaza’s Bagani Lubog Force was responsible for the killing of three persons in his area,” said Palabay. The group, which is attached to the 2th IB, was involved in the killing of peasants Manhiloy Mantog, 35, Benjamin Planos, 28, and Gabriel Alindao, 60, in 2013.

Palabay explained there are a number of reports of human rights violations committed by Otaza and the Bagani Lubog Force, but human rights workers could not come close to the areas of incident in Loreto, Agusan del Sur due to heavy military and paramilitary presence.

Karapatan reiterates its call to disband all paramilitary groups and punish the perpetrators of human rights violations among its rank. “There’s no use for the government to keep denying that the paramilitary groups are its creation because these groups obviously perform tasks along the regime’s counterinsurgency program.”

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Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

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