Amid mounting abuses
Peace talks, not martial law, is the right direction for Duterte – Anakpawis solon
Quezon City, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao joined hundreds of members of its group at a noise barrage-protest in front of the National Housing Authority in Quezon City, demanding the lifting of the martial law in Mindanao and continuation of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Casilao served as an observer to the cancelled fifth round of talks in the Netherlands, which was supposed to deliberate on the provisions of the draft Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).
A day after the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23, the lawmaker raised the alarm it would brought about worsening abuses against the marginalized sectors, such as the workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, urban poor and other poor sectors. He also called on the basic sectors to oppose the declaration or the Proclamation No. 216, by decisively carrying out legal-democratic actions such as setting up camp-outs, picketlines, street rallies, noise barrages, public forums and assemblies and other activities. In anticipation, Anakpawis closely monitored abuses in Mindanao, as well as, in other parts of the country, as brought about by the declaration.
Casilao cited the violent dispersal of Korean-owned banana plantation Shin Sun Tropical Fruit Corp. in Compostela Valley, as 11 workers were arrested by police and military personnel during a violent dispersal of their picket line last June 2. Shin Sun Tropical Fruit illegally dismissed union members led by Shin Sun Workers Union, an affiliate of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). Shin Sun workers launched the strike against the continued practice of contractualization scheme and its failure to remit its workers’ contribution to the Social Security System, Philhealth as the same time it subjected its workers to inhumane working conditions.
Last June 3, in Calagatan town, Batangas, farmer Lito Casalla, 52, member of Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Batangas (SAMBAT) was gunned down by unknown assailants, which was, according to the group’s leaders, was a reprisal for his active role against the land grabbing activity of San Miguel Corp. President Ramon Ang’s Asturias Chemical Industry over the 808 hectares of land in Balayan town, Batangas.
The group also blamed the escalation of abuses and atrocities to the martial law declaration, such as the incidents:
· May 25, 2017 – Aerial bombings in Moro communities in sitios Pedtobawan, Campo, Apulan, and Centro Salat in Brgy. Salat, and in sitio Libpas in Brgy. Tuael, President Roxas, North Cotabato by elements of the 39th and 72nd IBPA. Aerial strikes were also reported in the barangays of Tangkulan, Anggaan, and Damulog in Bukidnon;
· on May 25, at least thirty (30) Lumad, Moro, and Christian women who participated in “Leadership Development and Capacity Building for Gender and Ecological Justice” were held by the 6th Marine Landing Battalion in a checkpoint in Brgy. Domulon, Sultan Kudarat;
· May 25, at least 260 persons from Barangays 76-A and 23 in Davao City were rounded up by the Davao City Police Office, on the basis of failure to shown proofs of identification;
· May 26, 2017, Daniel Lasid, 58, a Blaan council member of Akma Aksasatu Matanao (Unity of Matanao) was shot by five (5) gunmen in Matanao, Davao del Sur. Witnesses identified elements of the 73rd IBPA;
· May 26, the PNP Regional Office of Region 11 threatened to arrest leaders and organizers of rallies, following the declaration of martial law. The AFP also released a statement stating the institution’s intent to exercise their right to censure;
· May 27, 2017, Nestor Quintano, 51, and Remon Rodela, 25, farmer members of the Unyon sa mga Mag-uuma nga Nakigbisog (UMANA) were forcibly taken by elements of the 66th IBPA in Brgy. Poblacion, Maragusan, Compostela Valley;
· May 27, Ana Marie Digaynon Aumada, 29, was gunned down while in her house in Brgy. Lucod, Banganga, Davao Oriental;
· May 28, 2017 according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DSWD-DROMIC), the firefight and AFP airstrikes has already displaced at least 54, 335 individuals. Military operations which spilled over to nearby provinces have also caused the evacuation of 895 individuals in Saguiran and a total of 4,445 evacuees in the whole of Lanao del Norte. The bombings in Marawi and nearby areas have also resulted indamages in civilian structures and people’s homes;
· May 29, 2017, peasant, couple Kidjol Marcelo Antay Sr. and Noeme Antay were illegally arrested by combined elements of the 60th IBPA and the Bagani paramilitary group in Brgy. Andap, Laak, Compstela Valley. Also, Otik Catalino and Maricho Catalino, were also illegally arrested in Brgy. Malinao, Laak, Compostela Valley by the same perpetrators. Both couples were active members of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Laak (NAMULAK), a local peasant organization in Laak, Compostela Valley.
“The alarming state-sponsored rights violation only reflects the intensification of military operations not mainly aiming at progressive groups who are demanding for genuine social change. Clearly the AFP is using the Marawi City incident to justify militarization of peasant, lumad and Moro communities as well as attacking rights of the workers and other oppressed people especially in the countryside. More than ever, it is very important that the peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP should push through despite various contentions. It is only through the peace negotiations to resolve these issues,” Casilao said. ###