Bp Cabantan condemns Talakag slay attack

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/05 December)Malaybalay Catholic bishop Jose Cabantan in a statement released today condemned “strongly” the slaying of three persons and the hurting of a five-year old boy in Talakag town on December 1 calling it “senseless” and “clear violations of the dignity of the person and the persons in community.”

The bishop said in his one-page statement that the coldblooded killing of defenseless and unarmed people, sowed fear to provoke disunity and chaos among people living in peace.

“They meant to inflict not only fatal wounds but also psychological trauma to annihilate the slightest resistance against them,” he said.

The statement cited the incident on December 1 where around 30 armed men stormed Sitio San Abel, Barangay Miarayon in Talakag town and shot the victims.

Media reports showed that the perpetrators hogtied nine men, and gathered women, children and elderly at the plaza.

“In front of people, two men were shot dead, and fatally wounding a pregnant woman. A boy of 5 years old sustained a wound from a stray bullet,” the statement cited.

After the shooting, about 36 families fled to Miayaron proper, where 12 of the evacuees sought refuge at the parish convent.

The bishop said children were traumatized, adults are worried, and many got sick and needed debriefing.

The bishop on behalf of the Diocese of Malaybalay appealed to the perpetrators of the killings to “submit themselves towards the way to peace. The key to peace is peace itself.”

He also called on the local government leaders and law enforcers to pay attention to the victims, “whose freedom had been cut-off by living in fear.”

“We appeal to all to help restore peace and order in their communities,” he added.

The bishop quoted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who cited that peace involves complete commitment. Peace, he added, is with God, with oneself, with neighbours and all creation.

“True peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions: personal, communitarian and transcendent. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life,” the bishop said.

The bishop said those who opt for violence will always harvest violence.

“Radical commitment to peace does not mean inaction but it entails a total commitment to genuine human values,” he added.

Cagayan de Oro media quoted 4ID spokesman Capt. Christian Uy identifying the victims as Eddie Gawahan, Jonel Yanda, and Germinia Yanda. Uy, as quoted in the reports, said the attack was motivated to instill fear among the residents.

The military said it was carried out by the communist New People’s Army but could not identify the NPA commander who led the attack. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)