BACOLOD City – The Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) with the Sagay City police station, city government of Sagay, and the Barangay Council of Bulanon have initiated the commemoration activities to mark the anniversary of nine local farmers killed last year.
“We initiated this as we would like to extend our sympathies to the families of the victims. Their innocence should be given justice. They were only promised by insurgents to join their unlawful activities,” 79IB commander Lieutenant Colonel Emelito Thaddeus Logan said on Monday.
He added the government institutions commemorated the event to “give value to the innocent lives deceived by the left-leaning parties and militant groups.”
Aside from the mass officiated by Reverend Father Erwin Magnanao on Oct. 20, other activities included a fun run from Crossing Bulanon going to City Proper joined by around 100 participants, a tree-planting activity at the Saint Joseph Parish Church and a dialogue with the families of the victims.
Meanwhile, Sagay City police station chief Major Antonio Benitez Jr. gave a case update during a meeting with the victims’ kin, who received rice and cash assistance from the police.
The nine fatalities – Eglicerio Villegas, Angelife Arsenal, Rene Laurencio Sr., Paterno Baron, Morena Mendoza, Marcelina Dumaguit, Rannel Bantigue, and two minors – were killed on Oct. 20 last year in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental after their group occupied the sugarcane field earlier that day to demand for their piece of land.
The victims were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).
They were allegedly enticed to join the NFSW and were manipulated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
The police had filed murder charges against several people, including Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, who were also identified as NFSW recruiters.
Assistant State prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez is handling the case, which is pending before the Department of Justice in Manila.(With a report from PNA/PN)