Aerial bombings, intensified attacks on peasant communities in Northern Samar, blamed on Duterte’s MO 32

Farmers from Eastern Visayas call for a stop to militarization of peasant communities at a protest in Manila.

Aerial bombings, intensified attacks on peasant communities in Northern Samar, blamed on Duterte’s MO 32

Manila, Philippines – The Anakpawis Party-list condemned to the highest degree possible the indiscriminate aerial bombings and intensified militarization of peasant communities in Las Navas town, Northern Samar and branded it as a result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32, or the order to attack activists in Samar and Negros islands and Bicol region.

“Duterte’s MO32 is an order for crime against humanity and war crime. He urged national and international human rights bodies to document the latest atrocities in Northern Samar as evidence against the regime,” Anakpawis former lawmaker Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said in a press statement.

The human rights group Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas alerted on social media that on October 26 that forces under the Joint Task Force Storm (JTF Storm) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ General Headquarters and 8th Infantry Division carried out aerial bombings in peasant communities in Brgy. Capotoan of the said town, sowing mass trauma to the residents who fled their homes and farms.

“Bombing civilian communities is a crime against humanity based on the International Humanitarian Law or a war crime. Duterte should be held liable for this,” Casilao said.

The human rights group said that since two weeks prior, the cluster of barangays in the said town were heavily militarized. On October 3, two activist farmers of Northern Samar Small Farmers Association (NSSFA) were abducted by elements of the 29th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in the said town.

“We urge the people of Northern Samar to rise up against the state terror being sowed by the Duterte regime. The poor sectors of the province are one of the most impoverished in the country, brought about by chronic landlessness and marginalization by the government. It has been the legacy of the people of Northern Samar to fight for social justice such as genuine agrarian reform and respect for human rights. No bombs can dismay their fighting spirit,” he stressed.

Finally, Casilao urged the Commission on Human Rights and the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to probe the Duterte regime’s atrocities in Northern Samar. ###

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