Priest, pastor, 8 lumad killed; arrest of transport leader since December 3: Anakpawis solon denounces mounting rights abuses, killings

Church leaders and activists condemn extra-judicial killing of Fr. Tito Paez, leader of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Central Luzon. Photos by Karapatan.Church leaders and activists condemn extra-judicial killing of Fr. Tito Paez, leader of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Central Luzon. Photos by Karapatan.

Priest, pastor, 8 lumad killed; arrest of transport leader since December 3
Anakpawis solon denounces mounting rights abuses, killings

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao denounced the Duterte administration for the mounting human rights abuses in the country and held President Rodrigo Duterte, primarily accountable. Since last week, two religious leaders were killed in Mindoro and Nueva Ecija, 8 lumad massacred in South Cotabato, and most recent the trumped up charges against Piston transport group leader George San Mateo.

“This is martial law, without President Duterte declaring one, we hold him primarily accountable for these atrocities and urge the broad public to express their rage against the dying of the light,” Casilao said in a statement.

Casilao earlier condemned the extra-judicial killings of Fr. Marcelito “Tito” Paez in Jaen town in Nueva Ecija last night and Pastor Lovelito Quiñones in Mansalay town, Mindoro last December 3. As of press time, lumad and human rights group Karapatan Socsksargen are reporting that 8 T’boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers were massacred by elements of the Philippine Army in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato last December 3. The victims were Victor Danyan, Victor Danyan, Jr., Artemio Danyan, Pato Celardo, Samuel Angkoy, To Diamante, Bobot Lagase, Matend Bantal. Wounded were Luben Laod and Teteng Laod.

Also this afternoon, the lawmaker accompanied transport group leader George San Mateo to post bail at a Quezon City court, who was brought to a police station for processing. He was charged with an archaic provision of the 1936 Commonwealth Act No. 145 or Public Service Law.

Casilao lamented that victims of extra-judicial killings are mounting, reaching to 121, mostly farmers, according to Karapatan human rights group and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). He also took serious note that in a span of two days, 10 activists fell victim to extra-judicial killings, and related this to President Duterte’s “de facto” order to “shoot armed NPAs.” Duterte also derided the human rights defenders who were killed in Negros Oriental last week who said “Gago kayo. Ayan, ‘yan ang nakuha niyo.”

“While the people used to look up to President Duterte to realize fundamental changes in the country, he failed to address the root causes of poverty such as landlessness, low wages and unemployment, he is now on the onslaught against activists, who he is very familiar to oppose anti-people policies and oppressive government measures,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker pinpointed that Duterte’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan is a plagiarism of Oplan Bantay Laya under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. It was primarily composed of extra-judicial killings, filings of trumped up charges and all-out militarization of farmer communities.

“As the people were subjected to pro-oligarch neo-liberal programs and policies under the past regimes, it is the same thing under the present administration, thus, the repression against activists,” Casilao basing on the latest survey on self-rated poverty which is at 47%, triggered partly by rising inflation rates.

Casilao also urged the public to brace for more tyrannical measures as the country already witnessed that the presidency already slated the church, the media, destroyed the heritage city of the Moro people, and continuing at present, fascist assault the national democratic movement. He pressed freedom-loving Filipinos to join the protest to mark the International Human Rights Day on December 10 at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila. ###

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