Generals Visaya and Año sowing Palparan-style terror in Mindanao — Karapatan
“Gen. Palparan may be in jail, but his trained dogs, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Visaya and Gen. Eduardo Año are sowing terror in Mindanao,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said as human rights violations continue to rise in Mindanao.
Gen. Visaya is acting commander of the 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army (IDPA) covering seven provinces of Northern Mindanao, including Bukidnon where a Lumad was recently killed. Gen. Año is recently appointed as commander of 10th IDPA in Davao provinces where soldiers are conducting “hamletting” in Brgy. Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte.
“Hamletting” is the practice of placing a community in direct and strict military control. This includes, among others, imposition of curfew hours, listing of names per household, controlling the mobility of people in and out of the ‘hamlet’.
“While the butcher Palparan is in jail, his terror continues. This means that the prosecution of one general is not enough to change the human rights situation in the country. The government should stop implementation of its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, and all butcher generals should be held accountable for their crimes against the Filipino people,” Palabay said.
Año and the Agila Division
Gen. Año, when appointed to head the 10th IDPA promised to have a ‘decisive win’ against the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao ‘through preponderance use of force’. “But, like Palparan, Año turns his gun against civilians,” said Palabay.
On July 18, soldiers began to encamp in a school and a church in Sitio Kapatagan, Brgy. Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte. Elements of the 60th IB ransacked the house of Purok leader Mario Liban and took his stock of rice. The incident came after the New People’s Army released its prisoner of war Col. Rogelio Rosales in Kapalong, Davao del Norte.
July 20, additional 40 soldiers of the 60th IB arrived in Sitio Mangkay in Kapalong. Helicopters landing on the fields to deliver supplies for the soldiers ruined the crops of the farmers. The soldiers harassed the tribal chief Datu Herminio Suminggil by forcing him to tell where the NPA fighters are.
“The soldiers imposed curfew hours, allowing residents to get out of the community from 7a.m. to 11am only. This restrained the farmers to tend their fields thus, disrupting their livelihood.” Palabay added.
The 60th IB arrested the couple Jerry and Tata Antonio in Sitio Mangkay and forced them to admit they were involved in the NPA’s capture of Col. Rogelio Rosales.
In the afternoon of July 29, soldiers of the 60th IB ordered the residents of Sitio Kapatagan to line up and threatened to strafe them as retaliation to the NPA. It was learned that a contingent of the 60th IB was ambushed by the NPA in the morning of the same day.
On July 30, soldiers used the children of the villages of Mangkay and Kapatagan as guides in their operation. Because of fear, the children agreed go with the soldiers.
“The extrajudicial killings, hamletting, harassment, forced surrender, encampment of schools and places of worship, destruction of property, threats, and the use of children as shields are all part of Oplan Bayanihan. Gen. Palparan used this same formula under Oplan Bantay Laya, which Gen. Año continued in Central Luzon resulting to the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, among other cases of rights abuses. Terrorizing civilians is the same strategy that the AFP has been using,” Palabay said in condemnation.
It was learned that Sagitarrius Mines Inc., (SMI)-XStrata has applied for mining exploration in Kapalong. “Other than the insurgency, it seems that the military is sweeping away opposition for SMI- XStrata’s entry in the town. The 60th IB now acts as private guards for the SMI-XStrata. This is the same company that paid the 27th IB and paramilitary groups in the massacre of the Capion family in Tampakan, South Cotabato,” Palabay said.
Extrajudicial killing in Bukidnon
Another Palparan protégé Brigadier Gen. Ricardo Visaya was appointed “acting commander” of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Cagayan de Oro City in 2013 and is now attempting to sow the same terror in Northern Mindanao.
Visaya was the commanding general of the 69th IB-PA implicated in the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004. He was also responsible for the abduction and torture of farmers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo on February 14, 2006. Elements of the 69th IB-PA, then headed by Visaya, were involved.
Marcel Singaman Lambon, 28 years old, was gunned down on August 14, 2014 in front of a sari-sari store in Barangay Kalabugao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
As a habal-habal driver, his uncle Rodelio Turay hired him to bring the corn to the milling station.
There they saw Dodoy Genton, a member of Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary and Maru Sanugan, a known military asset. Genton and Sanugan deceived Lambon and Turay to go to a nearby sari-sari store where Lambon was shot twice. Lambon died on the spot.
Lambon was a council member of the PIGYAYUNGAAN (a Lumad organization representing the Higaonon tribe of Kalabugao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon). Lambon led his organization in the campaign against environmental destruction and the expansion of an oil palm plantation in the Municipality of Impasug-ong. ###
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Floor Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets, Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
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.