By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Some members of progressive groups in Negros Occidental held a protest here Monday to mark the first anniversary of the “Sagay 9” massacre which happened in the province last October 20, 2018.
Members of Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) gathered in front of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) headquarters here yesterday, to call on authorities to solve the brutal murder case of nine farmers which took place at Barangay Bulanon in Sagay City last year.
The groups also had a re-enactment of the incident in Sagay City last Sunday, and a candle lighting ceremony at the San Sebastian Cathedral here also that day to remember the massacre victims.
NFSW secretary-general Butch Lozande said one year had passed and yet the families of the nine victims are continuously suffering pain since justice has not been served yet.
Six days after the incident, police filed multiple murder charges against Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, both alleged recruiters of the NFSW – for connivance – and seven John Does.
But Lozande said that the government had tagged wrong individuals behind the incident and he urged the authorities to withdraw the case against the wrongly-accused individuals and survivors.
The families are still waiting for the results of the investigation. The law enforcers should find the real culprit, he added.
He believes that if the government fails to address the extrajudicial killings in the country, EJK cases will remain unsolved.
They also marched from the Provincial Capitol Lagoon to the Fountain of Justice here, as they consistently called on the government for the immediate solution of the case.
Meanwhile, the local Army, police, and government officials of Sagay City also initiated a holy mass to commemorate the “Sagay 9” massacre over the weekend.
Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, said “we are initiating this to enlighten the hearts and minds of the victims’ families and make them understand that the promises of communist terrorists are far from reality and solutions of their problems will be resolve through the government servants not the leftist groups.”
They extended their sympathy to the victims and its families, claiming that their innocence should be given justice as they were only promised by insurgents to join in their unlawful activities.
A tree planting activity and fun run were also held last Sunday in Sagay City.