The Philippine Army clearly has it bad for the Isugans. Arsonists among the 94th Infantry Battalion burned down their home at 11.30pm last night in Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
It was also in Guilhungan where Oplan Sauron–the villainous name for Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations or SEMPO–had begun its trail of blood. On December 27, 2018, six peasants were systematically killed in the coordinated police and military action that constituted the first phase of Oplan Sauron. Jesus “Dondon” Isugan was among the six killed. Initially framed as an anti-drug operation, Oplan Sauron was eventually re-framed as a counter-insurgency drive, accusing the six of being members of the New People’s Army after they had been accused of dealing drugs. Tokhang was clearly redirected towards peasants organizing for the struggle for land and justice.
During the same operation, the couple Delia and Dominador Isugan were arrested, accused of illegal possession of firearms. The number of people arrested that day on trumped-up and fabricated charges reached 50. The entire operation was carried out based on a single and singularly flimsy warrant of arrest.
Not long after, Oplan Sauron reared its ugly head on March 30, 2019. 14 peasants were killed and–as in the case of the first six victims–subsequently redtagged to justify their murder.
These operations were carried out under Memorandum Order 32, the anti-surgency policy that militarizes peasant communities in Negros, Samar, and Bicol. To date, five battalions are stationed on Negros island alone. 68 civilians have been killed in Negros since Duterte came to power. Most of them are peasants from different progressive organizations; the rest are activists, peasant advocates, and human rights defenders.
#StopTheAttacks against the peasantry!
#DefendNegros from the fascist Duterte regime!