The martial law effect
Anakpawis solon slams harassment of farmer, human rights activists in Davao City
Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao denounced the holding of three peasant leader and a human rights activist at a military checkpoint under Task Force Davao in last Wednesday evening at Barangay Lasang, Davao City. They were held for looking suspicious.
The victims were Anakpawis Southern Mindanao Regional (Anakpawis SMR) Coordinator and chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – SMR (KMP SMR) chapter Pedro Arnado, KMP North Cotabato Secretary-General Gerry Alborme and Unyon ng Manggagawang Agrikultura Southern Mindanao Region (UMA SMR) Spokesperson Lito Lao, Karapatan Secretary-General Hanimay Suazo. They were still held though they have presented their personal information, while the military personnels even attempted to arrest Lao using an old warrant of arrest for an already-dismissed case. Their release was induced by a quick-reaction action of human rights activists from Davao City.
Casilao said that Lao served as a resource person during a hearing of the House Committee on Human Rights on House Resolution No. 954 on the violent shooting of farmers in Tagum City by the armed guards of Lapanday Foods Corp., while Arnado was with the farmers who held camp-out at Mendiola and visited by President Rodrigo Duterte last May.
“This clearly harassment against activists, especially those who are calling for the lifting of the martial law declaration in Mindanao, is a cooked up by the mixture of the proclamation, the fascist framework and ignorance of the law of the implementers, and is a violation of the inalienable right of the people to organize, for freedom of speech and expression and peaceful assembly,” Casilao said.
Casilao vowed to file a house resolution to push for a congressional hearing on the impact of the martial law declaration on the basic rights of poor sectors in Mindanao. He added that the incident substantiates that the martial law declaration is not exclusive against the extremists that instigated the Marawi City crisis, but included legal-democratic activists as targets.
Anakpawis has been demanding for the lifting of the Proclamation No. 216 and warned against the intensified abuses against basic sectors, particularly the farmers and indigenous peoples. It has also legitimized the destruction being wreaked by all-out war and aerial bombing operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on farmer communities that they tag as hotbeds of the New People’s Army (NPA), such as what was carried out on Moro and farmer communities in President Roxas town, Cotabato and Damulog town, Bukdinon on May 25, that triggered the mass evacuation of near 2,000 individuals.
The declaration also triggered rights abuses such as the rounding up of more than 200 residents of a Moro community in Davao City and the harassment of indigenous people’s women who attended a peace forum in Sultan Kudarat last month. Moreover, at least five farmers were illegally arrested in various towns in Compostela Valley and Davao Del Norte, also last month.
“We urge President Duterte to heed the people’s clamor and immediately lift the martial law declaration, to avert rights abuses committed by government forces, ward off disheartenment of the victims who actually supported his presidency,” Casilao said. ###