5 Years Since Oplan Sauron II

Graphic of a map of the Philippines pointing out Negros Island. Text reads: CPSO commemorates March 30, 2019 OPLAN SAURON 2. Former president Rodrigo Duterte launched a violent attack against Filipino peasant activists in Negros. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) killed 14 farmers and arrested at least a dozen more on trumped-up charges.

On March 30, 2019, the former President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte launched a violent attack against the Filipino peasant activists. ‘Oplan Sauron 2,’ part of the SEMPO program (Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations) was carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) forces. On the first day of action, 14 farmers on Negros Island were killed, while at least a dozen others were arrested on trumped-up charges or planted evidence. 

Activists picketing the Philippine National Police headquarters demanding justice for the farmers killed on March 30, 2019.

This brutal violence was part of an ongoing campaign of state terror on peasant activists and Indigenous peoples. At least 100 cases of unsolved extrajudicial killings on Negros Island have been attributed to Duterte’s administration and Oplan Sauron, contrary to the claims made by the AFP and PNP that a ‘one-time, big-time’ operation would efficiently quash resistance and sympathies with the New People’s Army. 

Oplan Sauron 1 & 2, along with the accompanying Memorandum Order 32 and Executive Order 70, represented an expansion of the open state terror in Mindanao, which was suppressed under martial law from 2016-19. However, MO 32 and EO 70 (which created the bogus National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, NTF-ELCAC) brought de facto martial law to Negros (and much of Visayas), as well as Southern Luzon.

Human rights group KARAPATAN, calling for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC outside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City in February 2024.

Today, under these same policies, Marcos Jr.’s government has intensified the killings and arrests. Shelling and aerial bombardment of cities and villages like Himamaylan in Negros Occidental, and continued massacres like that of the Fausto family in June 2023, are the only response the government has to the social, economic and political problems faced by the peasants, workers and Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines.

Vigil for the Fausto family (spouses Rolly/Billy and Emilda, and their two children, Ben and Raben aged 15 and 11) who were massacred by the AFP after days of harassment and intimidation.

While the direct criminals are those elements of the PNP and AFP (like the 94th Infantry Battalion) carrying out this terror campaign, the true villains are Marcos Jr., the ruling capitalists and landlords of the Philippines, and the US imperialistop sts who ultimately call the shots. CPSO stands with the people of the Philippines in their aspiration for national democracy, as well as an end to state violence, and genuine justice for its victims.


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