Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Recent military brutality in Samar

January 7, 2006

SAGUPA Condemns 46th IB Brutality in Basey, Samar

Basey countrysides are still in agony as military operation of the 46th IB escalates evidenced of several command posts littered all over far-flung areas of the said town, harboring fear and terror among the residents.

Reports disclosed that many farmers have fled their homes to take refuge in nearby barangays. This is currently happening in Sitio Roño, Barangay Old San Agustin, Basey, Samar. In November 2005, some farmers experienced military abuses, which persuaded them to air their complaints in radio stations to call for justice. The latest violation committed by soldiers belonging to the 46th IB involved the burning down of the house of a farmer on the mere suspicion of being a sympathizer or member of the communist rebels.

Lito R. Gacusana, Secretary General of Samahan han
Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB),
strongly condemns the spate of human rights violations
against these farmer-civilians.

“Their right to life and property are threatened due
to this intensified militarization, including their
sole source of economic survival, which is farming.
Several lives and properties have been ruined into
shambles brought about by military operations”, said

Elisa, not her real name, resident of Sitio Roño whose
house was torched down by the members of the 46th IB,
revealed that she is now under persistent surveillance
as she has voluntarily come out in the open to expose
numerous human rights abuses and terrorist acts
committed by the military.

“Our movements and activities are placed in
restrictions and monitored on mere suspicion that we
are members of New People’s Army. Last November 25,
2005, some 20 military men in full battle gear and
without nameplates forcibly entered our residence
insisting that we know the site of the NPA camp. As we
took no for an answer, they threatened to kill us. My
father, 70 years old, was beaten with their rifle
butts as he was being interrogated”, recalled Elisa.

“Lately, our house was burned down as we celebrated
New Year in my sister’s residence in Brgy. Old San
Agustin. We just discovered the burnt house on the
morning of the January 1, 2006 when our neighbors
relayed to us the news regarding the incident. At
least 12 men in civilian clothes but in combat shoes
suspected to be military men came upon our residence
on the morning of December 31, 2005. Before midnight,
they burned down the house including our personal
belongings, utensils, furniture and farm implements.
Witnesses revealed that the perpetrators belonged to
the 46th Infantry Batallion with a certain Lt. Balasi
as the commanding officer of the military operation
since they have seen these men change into their
fatigue uniforms in Sitio Sagne, Brgy. Del Pilar after
the incident.

Witnesses have also recognized the faces of the
perpetrators, as they were the same troops who sowed
unwanted intrusions to privacy and security in our
community. Before the incident happened, we have
received information that there are 15 houses,
including ours, which will be burned down by the
military. It happened that our house was the first one
to reduce into ashes”, Elisa lamented.

“We convinced the farmer-civilian-victims to submit
their sworn statements regarding the increased number
of human rights violations in your area for legal
purposes and to further prosecute these perpetrators
in uniform. We further call the attention of the
government to immediately take necessary and
constitutional steps and actions regarding this
concern”, Gacusana said.

Meanwhile, Elisa and the other victims of human rights
violations and suppression of people’s rights with
impunity demand justice and the immediate removal of
the 46th IB in Basey, Samar.###

Samahan Han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha
Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB)
Regional Peasant Alliance in Eastern Visayas
Tacloban City

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