Stop the killings in Negros

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A bloodbath is now happening in Negros.

In less than a week, from July 23-July 28, 15 civilians were killed by unidentified vigilantes in Negros Oriental following the July 18 ambush of four policemen by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Prior to this, last March 30, 14 civilians were killed in coordinated operations by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Canlaon City and the towns of Manjuyod and Sta. Catalina.

Human rights groups have reported at least 87 killings of unarmed civilians in Negros since the government intensified its campaign against suspected rebels and their alleged front organizations in 2017.

This cannot go on. The killings must stop.

In solidarity with the people of Negros, we urgently call for the following:

* An impartial and independent investigation on the facts, circumstance and underlying causes of the surge in killings so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice. Such an investigation cannot be simply left to the PNP and AFP who have been implicated in the killings;

* For Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to stop inciting the PNP, AFP and even firefighters to kill more in retaliation for alleged rebel atrocities, leading to even more indiscriminate killings and exacerbating the spiral of violence;

* For the government and the CPP-NPA-NDFP to resume the peace talks so that a stand down can be negotiated leading to a de-escalation of armed conflict and reduction of the climate of fear enveloping the province. The talks should address the roots of the armed conflict without resorting to all-out war and its ensuing human rights violations.

We likewise call on all Filipinos to help stop the bloodbath in Negros. Let us be steadfast in upholding human rights and dignity. Let us resist martial law and similar measures that would only worsen the situation.

Together, let us achieve peace and justice through dialogue and the highest respect for human life.

Initial signatories:

Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, D.D., Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, Former Sen. Rene Saguisag, Most Rev. Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D., Bishop of San Carlos, Negros Oriental, Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, D.D., Bishop of Sorsogon , Most Rev. Roberto C. Mallari, D.D., Bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Fr. Victorino  A. Cueto, CSsR, Superior, Redemptorist Vice Province of Manila, Sr. M. Benedict Basañes, Provincial Secretary, Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM), Fr. Angel Cortez, OFM, Executive Secretary, AMRSP-Men , Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Albay 1st District , Rep. Sarah Elago, Kabataan PL, Rep. Arlene Brosas, Gabriela Women's PL, Rep. France Castro, ACT Teachers PL, Rep. Carlos Zarate, Bayan Muna PL, Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, Bayan Muna PL ,Rep. Eufemia C. Cullamat, Bayan Muna PL, Former Rep. Neri Colmenares, Former Rep. Antonio Tinio, Former NAPC Chair Liza Maza, Former DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano, Former DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Bibeth Orteza, Mae Paner, Jaime Fabregas, Bart Guingona, Bonifacio Ilagan, Archie Oclos, CCP 13 Artists awardee, Leonilo Doloricon, Chairperson, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Chickoy Pura, Monet Pura, Nikki Luna, Rica Nepomuceno, Dr. Carol Araullo, chairperson, BAYAN, Atty. Edre Olalia, Dr. Romeo F. Quijano, MD, Dr. Edelina de la Paz, MD, Secretary General, Health Alliance for Democracy, Dr. Magdalena Barcelon, MD, national president, Community Medicine Practitioners and Advocates Association, Dr. Arlene Besa Carabeo, MD, past president, Pasay Paranaque Medical Society, Dr. Benigno Santi II, President UltraSound Society of the Philippines, Eleanor Nolasco, RN, president, Filipino Nurses United, Prof. Fidel Nemenzo, Prof. Sonny San Juan, Prof. Mike Pante, Dr. Orlino Talens, former Vice-Chancellor UP Manila, Edith Burgos, OCDS, Inday Varona-Espina, Vergel Santos, Chit Santos, Paulynn Sicam, Yoly V. Ong, Antonette Marcella, Coco Alcuaz, Glori Alcuaz, Mila D. Aguilar, Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, Zena Bernardo, #BabaeAko, Katrina Stuart Santiago, Dino Manrique, Lou Sabrina Ongkiko, Fr. Pete Montallana, Fr. Nonong Pili, Sr. Alma Marie Daraug, OP, Sr. Rowena Pineda, MMS, Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, Sr. Jean Enad, DW, Sr. Minela Alvarez, RGS - Women, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Link Person-Legazpi City, Sr. Claudia Stecker, RNDM, Rev. Fr. Daniel Feliciano, EccMSPA, Dr. Jojo Carabeo, MD, Dr. Gil Dominic Catalan, College of Medicine, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Dr. Violeta Casiguran, MD, Dr. Tess Betonio-Bacunata, MD, Dr. Paolo Medina, MD, Prof. Erlinda Palaganas, RN, PhD, Ramon Paterno, MD, MPH, UP College of Medicine, Leandro Salazar, UP College of Medicine, Santos Pagcalinawa DMD, Lipa City, Atty Lee Edson Yarcia, MD, Dr. Vincent Rasalan MD, surgeon Zambales, Omid Siahmard, convenor, HealthStat, Dr. Leonard Javier MD, convenor HealthStat, Dr. Edrie T. Alcanzare MD, Mylene Ledda, MD, Ezra Valido, MD, MPM, MPH, Charles Marquez, M.D. Medical Officer III, CDO City Health Insurance Office, Dr. Lorenzo Maria C. de Guzman, MD, Dr. Allison Noel MD, MPM, Dr. Jillian Lee Francisco, MD,MPM, Dr. Karl gabriel bonifacio MD, Dr. June Lopez, Ramon Chitoy Zapata, Leo Rialp, Ian Lomongo, Soc Jose, Nolit Abanilla, Lui Quiambao-Manansala, Boy Dominguez, Van Sulitas, convenor, Defend Negros, Norberto Roldan, Deannie Lynn Ocampo, Cathy Vistro-Yu, Isabel Aleta, Nina Yuson, Sally Capucao, Choy Mendoza, Mae S. Lagunday, Alex Aquino, Mund Fajardo , Argel Tuason , Eduardo Guarin, Betty Romero, Ester Isberto, Owen Santos, Windel Bolinget, CPA, Menchie Sylvestre, Dr. Eddie Concepcion, Delia Aguilar, Rossana Abueva, Jose Allan Arellano, Ernesto Ramel, Cynthia Allanigue, Nicolas Antonio, UP Diliman, Mel Alonso, Nestor Buena, Norberto Roldan, Artistic Director, Green Papaya, Margarita Roco, Neil Daza, cinematographer, Chuck Baclagon, 350.org...