Rest in power, Ka Reb

CPSO-Toronto condemns the recent killing and criminal display of Jevilyn “Ka Reb” Cullamat, daughter of Philippine congressional representative Eufemia Cullamat, by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

She was serving as a medic in the New People’s Army. Under international law, “permanent medical personnel shall be respected and protected at all times: they may not be made the object of attack.”

Moreover, photographs of her corpse were posted to AFP social media sites, as well as the AFP news site Kalinaw News. This is also a clear breach of international law.

The AFP’s actions show no regard for protections for medics, or conventions on respect for the remains of those killed, or international law more generally.

Shame on the AFP and any who condone these war crimes.

In 2015, at age 17, Jevilyn witnessed the brutal murder of her relatives Dional Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo, as well Emerito Samarca (Executive Director of ALCADEV Lumad school). The murders took place during the Lianga Massacre at the hands of CAFGU paramilitaries (civilian gangs organized by the AFP). Sometime after this, Jevilyn joined the New People’s Army as a medic.

Rep. Cullamat spoke of her daughter’s heroism. “Her decision to join the armed conflict is not a simple matter, it was triggered by the abuses that us Lumads [Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao] have experienced and the poverty she witnessed… Whatever the vultures around my daughter’s dead body say, this is all I can say: her life that she sacrificed for the nation and for defending our ancestral land was not wasted.”

Jevilyn could have tried to profit from her mother’s position. In a country ruled by political dynasties, so many other families exploit their political connections to get rich off the wealth of the people. 

But instead, she joined what is increasingly the only way for Lumads, peasants, and the poor to resist exploitation and oppression. Jevilyn chose to serve her people. 

CPSO-Toronto extends our condolences to Ka Femia and her family. We know that Jevilyn’s death will not be in vain. The Filipino people’s struggle grows stronger with each passing day, and all those who fight for a just and lasting peace will be remembered and cherished forever. 

Rest in power, Ka Reb.

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