Rights group decries recent rights, IHL violations in Bukidnon

KARAPATAN condemns the series of grave violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) perpetrated by state forces in Bukidnon.

On April 10, 2024, witnesses from the locality reported that former UP student turned New People’s Army guerrilla Kaliska Dominica Peralta was accosted unarmed by elements of the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Purok 8, Barangay Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon. Since she was already in military custody, her rights as hors de combat should have been respected. Instead, she was summarily killed by the soldiers, in brazen violation of International Humanitarian Law. In what has become a grim and predictable turn of events, the Armed Forces of the Philippine Eastern Command came up with the false narrative that Peralta was killed in an encounter.

Arrested during the incident were Marielle Pagoto and Lumad couple Reymart Torres and Gigi Mansimuy-at who had their infant child with them at the time. The military has made no mention of the child, whose whereabouts are unknown. The child must immediately be transferred to the custody of the parents’ relatives and must not be held hostage by the military to coerce the parents to “cooperate,” a despicable practice that the AFP has been known to do.

On the same day, Kilusang Mayo Uno labor organizer William Lariosa, 63, had also been forcibly taken by 48th IBPA soldiers in the same barangay. Lariosa and his family had been harassed and threatened because of his involvement in militant unionism, prompting him to seek sanctuary in the area. With the 48th IBPA vehemently denying having him in custody, Lariosa has emerged as the 15th victim of enforced disappearance under the Marcos Jr. regime.

KARAPATAN calls on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to undertake a thorough investigation of the reported summary execution of Kaliska Dominica Peralta and the possible abduction of Reymart Torres and Gigi Mansimuy-at’s infant child. We also call on the CHR to exercise its mandate under the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act and conduct unannounced inspections of all possible detention places in the area in question which are under military and police control in an effort to locate the whereabouts of William Lariosa.

This deplorable pattern of human rights and IHL violations not just in Bukidnon but in many other places must stop and the perpetrators held accountable. #