Imagine. Just a few days after Christmas, you are eager to welcome the new year with all its possibilities. You look forward to a humble feast with your family. A dish of pancit and a few slices of rice cake. Some round fruits that tradition compels you to place at your table. A couple of horns and some firecrackers for your younger siblings.
At about 5 AM, you heard a loud knock at your door. You hear your father being questioned. They shout at you, your mother and siblings. They order you to go outside only to find about 15 fully armed military and police forces entering your house while 20 more surrounded it.
They shove your father into his room.
A few seconds after, you heard someone yell, “Nanlaban!” Then, “Dapa!”
A few seconds more, six gunshots.
You manage to run back to the room and find your father bleeding from five gunshot wounds to the chest and one that pierced through his side. A search warrant slipped in his pocket.
But the horror is not yet over.
They dragged his body into your living room, threw him in the backyard and carried him away in a makeshift carriage using your childhood blanket. His leg, lifeless, hanging out.
You and your family can’t come close as they point their guns at you. You only hear from your neighbors that they have carried your father’s body through a helicopter into the city proper. But it has been two days and there was no word from the Mayor or Vice Mayor.
Finally, you receive news that you can finally claim your father’s body.
You had no choice but to bury him on the same day for fear of being harassed.
Thus, there was no wake–no eulogies, no time for prayer, no reminiscing with old friends and family, no goodbyes.
You swallow this bitter truth, but they are not done with you yet.
You find yourself being tailgated up to the cemetery where more fascist lapdogs await, as if they can plant more evidence on the dead. As if they can make more false accusations on the deceased.
You scream for justice but there is nowhere to go. Your barangay officials are being hounded and the police is involved. Meanwhile, the highest official of the land thirsts for blood and continually threatens women, lumad, farmers and workers.
It is difficult to imagine but it is the hard reality that people in Guihulngan live with as they started the new year.
On December 27, 2018, Reneboy Fat, Demetrio Fat, Dondon Isugan, Constancio Languita, Jun Cubul and Jaime Revilla were extra-judicially killed in Guihulngan City by the 94th Infantry Batallion under the 302nd BdePA upon the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command and Philippine National Police-Region 7 in line with its Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO).
Some of the victims were members of progressive farmer and worker organizations, such as the Kahugpungan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay nga Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KAUGMAON-KMP) and United Operators and Drivers Association-Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (GHUODA-PISTON). These organizations have been actively campaigning on farmers and workers’ issues and respect for human rights given the intensifying militarization in the region and ensuing de facto martial law. Recently, they have organized and participated in mass mobilizations during the International Human Rights Day (Dec 10) and Peasant Month (October 29).
The account was based on the testimony of one of the survivors during the local Fact Finding Mission last January 3 in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, led by Karapatan-Negros.
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Justice for Guihulngan!
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Stop Killing Farmers!