Bloody morning: 3 civilians killed in Negros

Three more civilians were killed in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in the early hours of Thursday.

Farmer Romeo Alipan was shot several times at home at around 1:40 AM. He was 64 years old.

The victim was chairperson of Guihulngan’s Barangay Buenavista and used to facilitate medical missions on behalf of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and other allied peasant organizations, Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo announced.

Alipan was the 215th peasant killing under the Duterte regime, and the fourth in a string of murders in Guihulngan in the last three days.

His murder was preceded by that of a school principal and his sister, also a Department of Education official at around 1 AM.

Siblings Arthur and Ardale Bayawa were shot dead inside their home in Barangay Hibaiyo by unidentified assailants.

Anthony Trinidad, a lawyer who had represented political prisoners as well as peasants in the region, was killed by gunmen last Tuesday.

Prior to his murder, the lawyer was accused of being a communist supporter and sent death threats by the anti-communist group Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista.

In response to the killings, San Carlos Bishop Gerard Alminaza called on the local clergy and lay leaders to think of ways to end the bloodshed.

“What’s happening to our Island? When will these killings ever stop?” Alminaza asked.

“I’m asking our priests and lay leaders serving in the area to meet and discern together what collective action to take in response to this worsening situation so we don’t give in to despair, complacency and numbness and put an end to this!” the prelate said.

Alminaza earlier issued a pastoral statement calling for an end to the killings and the resumption of peace talks between the government and communist rebels following Trinidad’s murder.

Activist groups and human rights defenders blamed Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32 of November 2018 ordering additional troops to Negros as well as Bicol and Samar for the increasing number of attacks against civilians. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)