BACOLOD City – The National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros condemned “in the strongest terms” the recent ambush of a fact-finding team for human rights group Karapatan at Barangay Nangka in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, last week which killed two individuals.
In a statement, NDF-Negros spokesperson Ka Frank Fernandez said what makes the assassinations several folds revolting is the fact that “Elisa Badayos and her team were attacked while in the process of concluding a three-day fact-finding mission which investigated the struggle for land of poverty-stricken peasants in Negros Oriental.”
Fernandez also blamed the Philippine Army’s 303rd Brigade for the ambush, pointing out that they violated the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1998 GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
Fernandez said Badayos was a staunch human rights advocate and was active for more than 30 years in various progressive groups.
In the 80s, she was active in the women’s section of Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Panaghugpong urban poor group in Metro Cebu.
She later founded the Cebu chapter of the human rights group Desaparecidos after her husband Jimmy was “forcefully” disappeared in 1990.
Badayos then later worked for Karapatan-Negros Oriental in 2010.
“With this incident, the bitter land problem in Negros has claimed two more lives, and added two more reasons for land-hungry peasants to consider the path of armed revolution to finally solve the country’s centuries-old problem of landlessness, exploitation, and oppression,” Fernandez said.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte has “clearly gone berserk” with his “Oplan: Kapayapaan” counter-revolutionary campaign against “the surging armed people’s movement by intensifying the Marcosian model of cowardly assassinating instead the leaders and members of unarmed legal progressive organizations.”
“This is another incontrovertible proof of the US-Duterte regime’s rapid march towards a nationwide open fascist rule in the Marcosian tradition of martial law, as firmly manifested in Duterte’s widely-reviled three-pronged wars against the CPP-NPA-NDF, the Bangsamoro people, and small-time drug pushers-users,” he added.
Badayos and another member of her fact-finding group identified as Eleuterio Moises were waylaid by five unidentified gunmen.
Karapatan-Central Visayas member Fritzie Bamollino said they were in the area to investigate claims that local farmers were being harassed by armed groups.