Groups condemn killing of 9 IPs in Iloilo, Capiz

Published January 2, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Several advocacy and church groups have condemned the killing of members of indigenous peoples (IPs) Panay Bukidnon, or Tumandok, in simultaneous police raids conducted in alleged New People’s Army (NPA) hotspots in Iloilo and Capiz last December 30.

Cops in fatigue uniforms during simultaneous raid of alleged hotspots of New People’s Army in Iloilo and Capiz provinces. (Photo courtesy of Panay Today / MANILA BULLETIN))
Cops in fatigue uniforms during simultaneous raid of alleged hotspots of New People’s Army in Iloilo and Capiz provinces. (Photo courtesy of Panay Today / MANILA BULLETIN))

 “Those killed were recognized indigenous community leaders in their respective barangays (villages).  They were civilians and not armed combatants,” said Panay Alliance Karapatan in a statement.

Units of the Philippine National Police (PNP), led by the Western Visayas office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-6), conducted a simultaneous raids on December 30 to implement 28 search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and explosives in remote villages of Calinog town in Iloilo, and Tapaz town in Capiz.

Seven of the nine persons who were killed were identified as Roy Giganto, Eliseo Gayas Jr., Mauro Diaz, Arcelito Katipunan,  Mario Aguirre, Jomer Vidal, and Dalson Catamin.

Police also arrested 17 others.

CIDG-6 claimed that nine were killed for allegedly fighting back and resisting arrest. But this was refuted by the victims’ families, claiming that the nine victims were forcefully dragged from their homes and shot.

“It appears that the services of these warrants were nothing more than an excuse to carry out an operation intended to kill and arrest local leaders that have been actively advocating for the rights and interest of farmers and indigenous peoples,” said the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) Panay Island Chapter.

The Promotion of Church People’s Response—Panay & Guimaras Chapter condemned the incident as “a brazen extrajudicial killings and illegal arrests” by using the newly-passed law of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Activists in Panay Island have reportedly been fearing for their lives after the slay of the 9 IPs, as well as the killing of Jory Porquia in Iloilo City last April 30.

 
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