Karapatan decries killing of teen farmer in Masbate

Karapatan strongly deplores the brutal killing by operating troops of the Philippine Army 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army of Rey Belan, a 17-year-old farmer from Barangay Calabad, Dimasalang, Masbate, and the subsequent attempt by the soldiers to cover up their evil deed by falsely claiming that Belan was an NPA member killed in an encounter. We demand justice for Rey Belan and his grieving family.

According to the accounts provided, Rey Belan and his four companions, all farmers and residents of Barangay Calabad, were on their way home and exiting a hilly area at Purok 1, Barangay Balantay in Dimasalang at 3:35 pm of June 16 after a day of hunting wild animals when they were chanced upon by troops from the 2nd IBPA. Without provocation, the soldiers opened fire at the group, killing Rey Belan on the spot. One of his friends was wounded. Their other friends managed to escape and filed an incident blotter at the PNP station in Banahao, Dimasalang, Masbate.

In an effort to conceal their actions, the soldiers resorted to planting a grenade and revolver as well as “NPA documents” to falsely portray Rey Belan as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who had been killed in a military encounter. Belan’s family and other residents of Barangay Calabad vehemently deny the military’s allegations. The military’s spin is an attempt to vilify Belan and obscure the truth about the gruesome incident.

We call on the Commission on Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive and impartial investigation into this bloody incident to ensure that those responsible for Rey Belan’s unjust killing and the subsequent cover-up are held accountable for their actions.

To the family and loved ones of Rey Belan, Karapatan and the entire community of human rights defenders pledge their unwavering support in their quest for justice and accountability.