ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 20, 2010) - Villagers have called for more security in the town of Labangan in Zamboanga del Sur province in Mindanao following the spate of political violence in the area.
Just recently, four houses owned by Mayor Wilson Nandang, were burned under mysterious circumstances. There was suspicion that the fire was deliberate and police said it was investigating the cause of the blaze.
“We are still investigating what triggered the fire,” the town’s deputy police chief, Lito Insong, told the Mindanao Examiner.
A journalist, Edison Flamiña Sr, who doubled as an electrician, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman shortly after he inspected one of the burned houses. Before he was killed, he told villagers that the house was probably burned deliberately.
Journalists who went to the area said they were tailed by suspicious motorcycle men who asked them about their coverage. Several men also asked them about their routes.
Villagers said the political violence in the town had resulted in the deaths of many people over the years, but witnesses were afraid to come out in the open for fear they would be killed.
“We want more protection. We want more policemen and soldiers to maintain peace and order and to dismantle private armies in our town. We are all scared,” one villager said.