LACUB, Abra — More than a hundred delegates from Church, human rights, lawyers groups and people’s organizations from Metro Manila, Baguio City, and Ilocos, Cagayan Valley joined the families of the victims of human rights violations in going back to the communities in Lacub, Abra affected by the AFP Northern Luzon Command-directed military operation launched by the 41st Infantry Battalion in 4 and 5 September 2014. Said military operation resulted in the killing of two civilians and seven members of the New People’s Army.
The families and relatives of Robert Beyyao and Recca Noelle Monte of Kalinga, and Brandon Magrana of Mountain Province, also joined the mission to visit the site where their loved ones were killed, to talk to the people in the community, and to know first-hand the circumstances of the death of the killed members of the New People’s Army. The bodies of the slain members of the NPA bore signs of violations of the International Human Rights Law.
The solidarity mission was conducted upon the request of the residents of Lacub after a series of human rights violations were committed by the military against the civilian population during the Sept. 4-5 operations. Esteban Ferreran, Secretary General of Tulbek, welcomed the National Solidarity Mission delegates, “I hope this mission would be fruitful for all of us,” he said in Ilocano. Tulbek (Timpuyog dagiti ti Umili iti Lacub), an affiliate of the Cordillera People’s Alliance hosts the mission.
The delegation was divided into three teams and immediately sent off to the villages of Guinguinabang, Talampak and Lacub town proper where several activities are lined up: psycho social therapy and medical services, focused-group discussions and documentation and tributes to slain community members.
As of this writing, the Lacub Mayor and Vice Mayor have not yet accepted the team’s request for an audience. Some members of the Lacub municipal council said both officials are out of Lacub.
The delegation assigned to meet the town officials would have wanted to specifically ask for the actions taken by the local government on the petition letter of the residents of villages of Lacub for the military to pull-out of their communities as early as 2011. The military detachment in between a high school and elementary school is another cause of concern among the residents.
An ecumenical service and a community forum in Lacub town are among the activities expected to cap the mission.