NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – A total of 15 persons, including 4 policemen and a school principal, were killed in separate shooting incidents in a span of one week in this province.
The first casualties were the 4 cops who were ambushed by the New People's Army (NPA) in Barangay Mabato in Ayungon town on July 18.
Police probers said the 4 victims, who were disguised as foresters, were setup for the ambush. They were supposed to meet their in the village. That contact turned out to have links with the rebels.
Five days later, a lawyer from San Carlos City in Negros Occidental was killed on July 23 at Guihulngan City.
He was on board a sports utility vehicle with his wife when they were waylaid by unknown assailants who shot them at close range. The lawyer died at the hospital while his wife sustained injuries.
The shooting also injured a pedicab driver whose vehicle was hit by the lawyer's wayward car after the shooting.
A day after, on July 24, a rebel returnee and leader of a farmer's association were gunned down by 4 unidentified men on two motorcycles in Zamboanguita town.
The victims, also on board a motorcycle, were on their way home when they were attacked by the suspects and shot at close range.
On the same day, a resident of Dumaguete City was just watching television inside his home when two unidentified men entered his home and shot him several times.
The police have yet to establish the motive on the incident.
The first incident was in Guihulngan City where a school principal and his sister, an official of the local Department of Education office, were shot dead inside their home.
Police said unidentified armed men barged into their home and killed them while they were asleep.
Forty-five minutes later, at 1:40 a.m., a village chief was killed in Guihulngan after his home was also invaded by armed suspects.
In Siaton town, a resident of Barangay Maloh was shot to death by motorcycle-riding assailants.
The victim was on a motorcycle when he was attacked by the unidentified perpetrators.
In another shooting incident, a resident of Ayungon town was gunned down by unidentified men on motorcycle.
The victim died on the spot.
In Sta. Catalina town, a family was attacked by unidentified suspects, killing the father and his child. His wife and another child were wounded in the shooting.
The police are still investigating the separate incidents.
Toll the bells
San Carlos Diocese Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental said the barbaric deaths of the victims were "manifestations of a total absence of peace and order.
He also urged the local government leaders to speak up, and "not let your silence add to the growing number of killings and embolden more the criminals."
Further, he called on their parishes, mission stations, and religious houses to ring the church bells every 8 pm starting July 28 until the killings stop.
"Let the tolling of bells reminds us that the senseless killings are inhuman. Let the tolling of the church bells call us to a collective prayer, for us to beg God to touch the hearts of perpetrators, as we call on responsible government agencies to effectively address the series of deaths," he said. – Rappler.com