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Silence of the Lambs? Former Red cadre to raise before House, intl community terrorist spree in northern NegOcc

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24 civilians killed so far in only two years

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Former Communist cadre Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric’ Celiz will raise before the Philippine House of Representatives and the international community the killing spree by Communist terrorists of civilians in three towns and a city in northern Negros Occidental province in only around two years starting late 2021.

DNX Research showed the 24 civilians killed in only two years – from 29 November 2021 to early tjis yeat – were mostly in the upland villages of Toboso, Don Salvador Benedicto and Calatrava towns surrounding Escalante City’s Pinapugasan village.

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One was a village chief, Benjamin Javoc,and some were slain in front of their families Communist gunmen.

Celiz said most of these murders were owned up by the NPA through press releases from a supposed spokesman using a purported command of the NPA.

Celiz became a prime anti-Communist witness of the Duterte government and was chairman of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Panay island where he started his youth activism and was later promoted as a staff of the NPA’s National Operations Command.

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The former cadre is now national secretary general of the Sentrong Alyansa ng Mamamayan Para sa Bayan or SAMBAYANAN, an alliance composed mostly of former ranking Communist urban operators.

Celiz, however, also pointed out the “deafening silence” of so-called rights defenders or advocates who have been very critical of military combat operations against the civilian killers but have not raised serious concerns over the slaying of Negrense civilians.

He pounted out that while there are critics “who are very quick” in lambasting the Army, particularly the 79th Infantry Battalion that had been chasing the killer-remnant group, they are silent over the apparent “alarming” spate of killings committed by the terrorist dregs.

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He pointed out in particular San Carlos Diocese Bishop Gerardo Alminaza and the Pilgrims for Peace, a group of Churchpeople calling itself as “peace advocates.”

Alminaza had earlier called the use of air assets in the Pinapugasan firefight in Escalante City as “disproportionate.”

The Pinapugasan clash on 21 February 2024 was the peak of the northern Negros gunbattles triggered by the 79th IB’s focused military operations against the civilian killers who are remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front.

Celiz pointed out more serious efforts have to be made in exposung the urban operations of Communists who are trying to make it appear it still alive despite the fact that it is already “gasping for breath.”

He said while Sambayanan will bring the northern Negros murders to the House Committee on Human Rughts chaired by Rep. Bienvenido Abante, he also hopes local governments from the town to city, and provincial levels can take heed of thimese incidents and act on it.

He also urged local councils to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or ELCAC to take steps against the murders.

Celiz also said the Commission on Human Rights should also conduct its motu propruo probe into these cases of killing.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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