SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Village chief Merlyn Bermas and a four-year-old child were killed by a suspected death squad connected to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camarines Norte in Bicol. Karapatan has just come out with an initial report of the incident based on the beginning stages of their investigation. Here are some excerpts from the initial stages of the investigation:
In the afternoon of August 7, Merlyn Bermas was on her way home from the market at the Labo town center. She and other residents of Malaya village were on board two “haulers,” a motorcycle with a sidecar with no roof, which is the mode of transportation for villagers in far-flung communities.
When they reached Anameam village, at around 3:30 pm, a motorcycle with two men on board went past the second hauler, and positioned itself between the two haulers, just behind Merlyn. A passenger of the second hauler saw one of the motorcycle riders pulled out a gun. “They’re going to shoot you!” she shouted to warn Merlyn and the other passengers of the first hauler.
The gunman fired twice, hitting Merlyn in the back, and [the] four-year-old in the head. The gunman fired for a third time, grazing [a peasant] in the back. As the gunmen fled, a second motorcycle, with two men on board, followed, speeding past the two haulers.
As Malaya village chair, Merlyn helped in exposing the Feb. 25, 2012 massacre in her community, where farmer Benjamin Mancera was killed, along with his two sons, Michael, 10 and Richard, 7 years old, and Mancera’s 14-year-old daughter was wounded when 49th Infantry Battalion soldiers strafed their hut. Merlyn also assisted the surviving members of the Mancera family who had to find a sanctuary due to threats to their lives.
Merlyn’s daughter recounted that a year ago, her mother had received death threats from suspected military agents on her cellphone, alleging that she was a New People’s Army member, and threatening that they will kill her.