It was on June 25, 1989 when the Maoist New People's Army (NPA) attacked sitio Rano in Barangay Goma in Digos where they gathered 39 residents inside a chapel and massacred them. Most of the victims were women and children.
The rebel leader was even photographed as having beheaded the pastor.
This year's commemoration will, however, be no different from the past years as the NPA continues its rampage in the area, victimizing hapless civilians in the process.
Twenty years after the brutal murder of their relatives, the families and friends of the victims plan to stage a prayer rally on June 25.
"We will pray for peace in Mindanao. It is about time that we heal wounds and unite to denounce violence," a sibling of one of the victims said.
While the NPA has made pronouncements to respect human rights, the rebel group continues to sow fear and commit atrocities that victimize mostly civilians.
Records from the police and military reveal that the NPA committed since 2004 a total of 100 atrocities in Davao Region, 62 of which are liquidations, 16 abductions, and 22 arson cases.
Most of the atrocities were committed by the NPA in Compostela Valley with 40, followed by Davao City and Davao del Norte with 17 and 15 cases, respectively.
On Friday, the NPA rebels once again abducted a soldier in Compostela Valley, barely a few weeks after they released Private Ronnie Trinidad of the 10th Infantry Division who was abducted in New Bataan last April.
The abducted soldier, Staff Sergeant Ronil Maglangit, was found dead in Monkayo the following day.