Militants also victims of war on drugs
President Duterte’s war on drugs has claimed the lives not only of drug users and pushers, but also trade union leaders, indigenous people and activists, according to militant groups.
Soldiers, apparently using Mr. Duterte’s call to the military to help the Philippine National Police fight illegal drugs, use the crackdown to go after suspected communist rebels and their sympathizers.
In October, four members of a farmers group in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan province, were arrested and jailed on trumped-up drug charges, according to the human rights group Karapatan.
“There were more political killings under (Aquino’s) first five months than there are now, but it’s hard to compare. What we see is the killings continue … The impunity of past administrations continues,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
Karapatan said 18 farmers, lumad (indigenous peoples in Mindanao) and activists died at the hands of suspected soldiers and militiamen between July 1 and Oct. 31 despite peace talks and a truce between government forces and the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
The victims were:
Lumad leader Hermi Alegre, 32, who was gunned down by three men on motorcycles in Tugbok District, Davao City, on July 15.
Jessybel Sanchez, 42, secretary of an organization of lumad communities in Talaingod, Davao del Norte province, who was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding men on Aug. 14.
Peasant leader and mining opponent Jimmy Saypan, 48, who was gunned down on Oct. 10 in Montevista, Compostela Valley.
Joselito Pasaporte, 31, organizer of youth and agrarian reform beneficiaries in Mabini, Compostela Valley, who was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding men on Oct. 13.
Farmer Elmer del Rosario, 26, of Tangub City, Misamis Occidental province, whose body was found on Aug. 19 in a shallow grave near the military’s makeshift camp. He had been shot in the head. His face and body were heavily bruised.
Farming couple Totong and Rita Gascon, who were killed on Sept. 13 when suspected members of the Bagani paramilitary group shot up their hut in Arakan, North Cotabato province.
Ariel Diaz, 52, chair of a peasant group in northern Isabela, who was killed by three gunmen in Delfin Albano, Isabela, on Sept. 7.
Higaonon farmers Remar Mayantao, 34, Roger Suminao, 33, and Senon Nabaytuna, 50, who were killed on July 12 when their group was fired upon by private security guards in Sumilao, Bukidnon province.
Farmers Emerenciana Mercado de la Rosa, 53; Violeta Mercado de Leon, 55; Eligio Barbado, 55; and Gaudencio Bagalay, 58, of Laur, Nueva Ecija province, who were killed on Sept. 3 when armed men allegedly affiliated with Palayan City Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas opened fire on a group of peasants participating in collective farming.
Karapatan also said 85 peasants and activists were illegally arrested, 27 of them detained. Among them were the four farmers from San Jose del Monte who were jailed on trumped-up drug charges.
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