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Solons seek House probe on Negros Oriental killings, want Oplan Sauron scrapped

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 4/3/2019 Jimenez, Raffy

Incumbent party-list representatives on Wednesday filed resolutions in the House of Representatives calling for a probe into the recent killings of 14 peasants in Negros Oriental and for the scrappring of the provincial police's Oplan Sauron which allegedly targets activists in the area.

Signed by Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao, along with six other lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc, House Resolution No. 2533 requests the chamber's Committee on Human Rights to conduct an inquiry to the killing of the 14 farmers in Canlaon City, Manjuyod, and Sta. Catalina towns.

The document cited some personal accounts of the slain individuals' family members who claim that there were irregularities in the execution of the police operation.

It also included the claim of various peasant organizations that at least 55 farmers and activists in the Negros island have been victims of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration while a total of 200 farmers were supposedly executed nationwide.

Further, in a separate resolution, the lawmakers said the House should urge the scrapping of Oplan Sauron, a security operation plan of the government troops against the personalities linked to the communist rebels in the province.

"It should be noted that Oplan Sauron victimizes peasants and activists belonging to legal and democratic people's organizations, such as KAUGMAON (Kapunongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmayhg Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros), affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), local affiliate[s] of PISTON and Gabriela, and chapter of Anakpawis Party-list," the resolution read.

"Thus, these attacks are undeniable measures against constitutional rights to seek grievances or redress, and for fundamental reforms in the country such as genuine agrarian reform, rural development, and respect for human rights," it added.

It was stated in the resolution that from December 2018, 20 peasant activists and residents have been killed under Oplan Sauron, including the 14 recent fatalities in the anti-criminality police operations on March 30, 2019; while 28 individuals were arrested "via irregular procedures."

The solons claimed that Oplan Sauron was conducted in line with the implementation President Rodrigo Duterte's Memorandum Order No. 32 which directed the deployment of more troops in the provinces of Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and the Bicol region in November 2018.

In another House resolution, the same lawmakers called for the immediate and unconditional releases of peasant activists and residents of Negros Oriental, including Nestor Kadusale, peasant leader of KAUGMAON; and Azucena Garubat, member of NAMAPA (Nagkahuisang Mag-uuma sa Panubigan) and coordinator of the Anakpawis Party-list Canlaon City Chapter who were arrested on the same day that the 14 farmers were killed. — RSJ, GMA News

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