Relatives of NPA purging victims find new courage after discovery of mass graves
By Bong Pedalino
43rd IB, SOGOD, Southern Leyte (14 October) -- Lt. Col. Mario Lacurom, the Infantry Battalion Commander of this Army Camp was quoted in a published report as saying that people in NPA-affected barangays of Baybay have become vocal and unafraid now in seeking help from local government officials and concerned agencies.
This new-found courage has intensified following the discovery of shallow mass graves in which at least 71 skeletal remains had been found, the Army Chief said.
This developed as an indignation rally participated by some 5,000 residents coming from NPA-infected areas in Baybay town showed up last month to express their disgust against the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF), and their armed wing, the NPA.
Lt. Col. Lacurom said the rallyists carried placards, streamers, leaflets and posters expressing their angry sentiments towards Joma Sison, Luis Jalandoni, and Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Satur Ocampo.
The demonstrators marched from the corner of Jacinto and ML Quezon streets and culminated at the municipal plaza where a mass was said by Rev. Fr. Antonio Gaviola, Baybay Parish Priest.
Baybay town and other areas of the Fifth Congressional District of Leyte are under the tactical and operational coverage of the 43rd IB based in barangay Hibod-Hibod, Sogod, Southern Leyte.
About two months ago, military authorities unearthed several mass graves -- later referred as the “Garden” -- in Mt. Sapang Dako, Brgy. Caulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte , which was believed to be containing the dead remains of purges perpetrated by the rebels in the 1980s.
The discovery roundly sparked a series of condemnations and denunciations from various sectors, but the relatives of the victims of those who had disappeared were hurt the most as memories of the dark past were refreshed.
During the indignation rally in Baybay, it was learned that relatives and supporters of those who perished dramatized in a play how their kin were abducted, dragged, and killed as they were being suspected as infiltrators, spies, or deep penetration agents (DPA) of the military. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]