Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao criticized President Rodrigo Duterte on his berating of human rights advocates’ alleged silence on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar during his speech last week. The lawmaker claimed that their persecution is comparable to the situation of the Moro, lumad and other indigenous peoples in the country and he is a key figure causal for their wretchedness.
“The Moro, lumad and other indigenous people have been appealing to the president to heed their calls for peace, a stop to all-out war and militarization, but they were abandoned and condemned to atrocities,” Casilao said.
Last May, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao as response to the Marawi City incident and it was followed by the incessant aerial bombings and obliteration of the urban center. Near 200,000 were displaced and at least 56 civilians were killed as result of the clashes. The Moro people has been subjected to Islamophobia for the longest time, and they were usual victims of discrimination and accusations of being terrorists.
After his State of the Nation Address last July, the president threatened to bomb lumad schools in Mindanao and claimed that they were being operated by “communist guerrillas.” Moreover, Lumad and indigenous people communities are commonly subjected to large-scale militarization. There are about 29 documented extra-judicial killing cases against the sector, according to Sandugo, a national alliance of national minorities and indigenous people camping out at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.
“The national minorities and indigenous peoples have already charged the president with national oppression as he sided with the militarists-fascist in his cabinet and upheld the dictates of US imperialism,” Casilao said.
National oppression is the reigning state’s repression of the struggle for right to self-determination of national minorities and indigenous people, mainly on their political and economic rights, alongside the social prejudices against them.
The situation of the Rohingya Muslims are akin to those in the country, the lawmaker added. The United Nations reported that at least a thousand Rohingyans were killed since August and at least 270,000 were displaced trying to cross into Bangladesh as refugees.
“Duterte should prepare himself as there is already a snowballing resentment among peasants, national minorities, indigenous people and democratic and freedom-loving sectors against his authoritarian measures, it is either he retract or reform his policies or be judged by the people accordingly,” ended by Casilao. ###