The promotion of Church People’s Response condemns in the strongest terms the massacre of Capion family members in Tampakan, South Cotabato last Oct. 19. According to news reports, the perpetrators of the crime were elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, and the victims—two children and their mother who was seven months pregnant—were killed after the strafing of their family’s abode.
Residents have confirmed that in the morning of Oct. 19, elements of the 27th IB, PA arrived at the house of the Capion family and opened fire, instantly killing the mother Juvy and two of her children, JanJan, 7, and Pop, 13. A fourth victim, Vicky, 5, was wounded. The father who was outside was spared.
Based on reports from the ground, after the massacre, government forces left the victims’ bodies on display under the scorching heat of the sun for eight hours instead of giving them a measure of respect. The relatives were stopped from intervening and taking proper action. The military insists that the deaths were the result of a legitimate encounter, but how on earth could this be when the victims were unarmed civilians—children and even a pregnant woman.
We are utterly appalled and outraged that atrocities and gross disregard of life and dignity such as this continue. A day before, thousands of church people commemorated the first death anniversary of Fr. Pops Tentorio. The Capions are leaders of the B’laan tribe and staunchly oppose the planned mining operations of Xtrata-SMI in Tampakan. The massacre once again showed how state forces have become private armies of mining corporations.
We believe that the massacre was carried by state forces to threaten the people in the area, to silence those who oppose Xtrata’s mining operations. The Aquino administration has extended assistance to Xtrata whose project, it is feared, will displace 30,000 B’laans from their ancestral domain. The killing of Capion family members only confirms what is already obvious: P-Noy’s administration not only turns a deaf ear to the people’s cry for justice, it also allows impunity to rule the land, leaving on their own communities and the marginalized to be terrorized, in furtherance of the so-called peace and development within the framework of Oplan Bayanihan, the state’s counterinsurgency policy.
In outrage, we join the Capion family, the B’laan tribe and all victims in demanding justice and calling for an end to extrajudicial killings. We dare President Aquino: Heed the voice of the people and immediately make accountable those who had a hand in the massacre, and finally put an end to the prevailing culture of impunity.
Promotion of Church
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