Is EV the new killing fields?

Is EV the new killing fields?

Jan 22, 2024, 1:07 AM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz


Considering that Eastern Visayas, particularly Tacloban in Leyte, is the hometown of two prominent (related) families– those of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, mother of the sitting President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the current House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez– everyone would expect Region 8 particularly, to be highly secured and safe. But no, the opposite prevails.

The region is being known now as a killing field because unresolved killings because of the inaction of the police had prompted the citizens (relatives and friends of those killed) to take things in their own hands, ergo the never-ending cycle of killings. Such killings even surpass the traditional clan killings in Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga of the recent past.

For instance, in 2023 alone, notable killing episodes that were played up in the media were those of the 26-year old mother and her two children ages 3 and 5 months old in Catbalogan City, Samar on August 31, 2023.

The local media were informed by Lt. Col. Ma. Bella Rentuaya, the EV police information officer, said that the victims were Rea Oreo and her two children who were found dead outside their house in Barangay Pupua with their throats slashed.

The grisly incident was discovered by the victim’s husband, Edito Candiz, who just returned home from his work as a motorcycle driver at the city proper. Rea, when found by her husband, was lying dead embracing her 5-month baby boy. The other child was a 3-year-old baby girl.

Cadiz reported the incident at 6 p.m. with the help of village officials, led by Papua Village Chairman Sosimo Basal Jr. expressing shock at the grisly killing.

On November 26, 2023, a dedicated Tacloban City teacher Bernabe Basiano was brutally murdered, prompting a strong condemnation by the Department of Education regional office, which expressed deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the victim. during this difficult time. “This senseless act not only robs us of a valuable member of the teaching community but also shakes the very foundation of our commitment to providing a safe and nurturing environment for our learners,” declared DepED R8 Regional Director Evelyn Fetalvero, CESO IV.

DepEd called on the local authorities and police to conduct a thorough and swift investigation to bring the criminals to justice. She also urged the community to cooperate with the authorities and provide any information that may aid in the resolution of this case.

We reiterate our commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our teachers, and we will collaborate with law enforcement agencies to implement measures that will prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

Earlier on June 1, 2023, a former student leader of the University of the Philippines, Tacloban Campus, died with three other alleged New People’s Army rebels in an alleged clash with government troops in Northern Samar on May 28, causing Bayan national SecGen Renato Reyes to charge the killing as a result of trumped charges to force many underground.

Army Public Affairs chief Capt. Jefferson Mariano (R8) said the death of Joshua Sagdullas, alias “Miyong” and three other companions identified as Geraldine Teopinto alias Luz, finance officer; Abigail Padula Baselga alias Moana, medical officer and Vicente Termo, an NPA cadre were killed in an armed encounter.

On November 30, the PNP said 29 people were killed nationwide as the election period for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections ended.

In the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BKSE) 100 were killed (of which six were said to be from Eastern Visayas), this includes the September 20 killing of Tito Llamado, 59, a reelectionist and former rebel returnee who dissociated himself from the NPA to start anew.

And before him, the village councilman seeking the barangay chief post who was critically wounded during an ambush in Leyte, Leyte on Sept. 7.

It seems that these killings continue even now. The recent killings in Eastern Visayas at the very start of the year is undoubtedly alarming. Unfortunately, news of such incidents seem to just be a passing story when victims would simply be added to the long list of people who died without justice.

The slow and often lack of action from enforcers leads to families taking justice in their own hands, Hence, adding another ripple to the endless cycle of blood shed in the islands of Leyte and Samar.

The government must recognize the gravity of the situation and take immediate action to address these killings. It should also involve a commitment to transparency and accountability, with regular reports on the progress made in addressing the issue.

The people of Eastern Visayas deserve better than a culture of killings. It is time for the government to listen to their concerns, respect their rights, and work with them to build a more just and equitable society.

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