8 village chiefs killed in Bukidnon since 2010

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/06 December) Since 2010, a total of eight barangay (village) chairs were killed in Bukidnon while serving their term, an official at the Department of the Interior and Local Government provincial office said, adding the government should do something about it.
She said the rate is alarming and that the government must do something about it.
Gracelyn B. Galvezo-Abregana, local government operations officer V of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Bukidnon told Bukidnon News Monday the victims were either slain by suspected communist rebels, bandits or allegedly by their political enemies.

She added that the list of victims, five of whom were killed in 2011, excludes village chiefs who were killed after their terms had ended.

The most recent victim, Arsenio Ferrera, 66, the barangay captain of Brgy. Mabuhay in Valencia City was shot by 10 armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army, police report said.

Ferrera was gunned down on Nov. 19, barely a month after Laureano Silay, 61, barangay captain of Bukang Liwayway, Kibawe was killed on October 27, 2011.

On September 13, 2011, Frederick Jalaman, 52, barangay captain of Brgy. San Miguel was killed in  Maramag town.

Two barangay captains were also killed in two separate incidents, just three days apart in July 2011.

Dominorog, Talakag, Bukidnon barangay captain Fernando Nool, 69, was slain on July 23 in an ambush on the way home from a seminar. Three days later, Linabo, Quezon barangay captain Raul Cagalawan, 47, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men.

Three of the killings were reported in 2010.

Cosina, Talakag barangay captain Renelie Gomez, 37, was killed by unidentified gun men on August 8 in front of his wife who begged for his life.

In October, two barangay captains were killed just two days apart.
The victims were Manuel Fajardo, 49, of Tumaras, Kibawe town on October 10, 2010 and Martin Villaflor, 34, of Ninoy Aquino, Kalilangan on October 12.

Galvezo-Abregana said those who were allegedly killed by communist rebels for alleged abuses were caught in the crossfire.

“They are caught in between. They faced a dilemma where to place themselves being the top government official in the village,” she added.

She said they have to deal with the realities in the remote areas, where most of those killed come from.

But Galvezo-Abregana said not only incumbent barangay captains were subject of the killings. She said former barangay captains, village councilors, and even barangay treasurers and other village officials were targeted.  But she admitted she only based her records on the death claims of the families of the victims.
She urged higher government officials to check what can be done to help address the problem.
Roelito Gawilan, president of the Federation of the Associations of Barangay Councils (FABC) in Bukidnon vowed to go deeper into the killings.

He said village officials are very vulnerable to attacks because of the position they hold in the area.
“They are also not adept at conflict management skills,” he added.

But he said in an earlier interview some of those killed got involved with “personal cases.”

Gawilan said they will investigate the killings and see what kind of protection is applicable even if he pushed for the deployment of Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary (SCAA).  (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)

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