ZAMBOANGA CITY: Human rights group Karapatan on Monday accused the military for killing two men tagged as communist rebels in Davao del Sur.
Karapatan said the victims— Tony Bago and Arnel Tanduya— were separately killed by gunmen who accused them as members of the New People’s Army, an allegation strongly denied by the victims’ families.
In a recent news conference following a fact-finding mission, Karapatan said there were reports of numerous human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and harassment of civilians perpetrated allegedly by the military in the province.
The group said Bago, a fish vendor, was riding his motorcycle to buy fish when two masked gunmen on motorcycle stopped him and shot him four times in the head on May 21.
Prior to the killing, Bago was summoned twice and interrogated by the army and told him to surrender his son who was also tagged by soldiers as a member of the NPA.
Tanduyan was murdered in his house on May 7 by suspected government troops. His body was peppered with bullets.
“The numerous human rights violations in Malita, Davao del Sur is a clear form of bloody Oplan Bayanihan under Aquino’s Regime, the killing of innocent Lumads,” said Karapatan spokesperson Pastor Sadrach Sabella.
Sabella said they have recorded at least two dozen killings in the region and that 10 of the victims were tribesmen who fought for their ancestral rights.
“Families of the victims call for justice and appeal to authorities to stop the branding of innocent civilians as rebels or supporters of rebel groups,” he said.
There was no immediate statement from the military on the allegations of Karapatan, but the Eastern Mindanao Command has previously denied all accusations of human rights violations and reports of extrajudicial killings by soldiers.
It also branded Karapatan as a front for the communist groups, an allegation strongly denied by the human rights organization.