More rights violations as APEC Summit takes place

"The BS Aquino government attempts to hide the images of extreme poverty and peoples' resistance in Metro Manila from the APEC delegates as its armed forces intensify operations to silence the people,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general as reports of rights violations reached Karapatan.  
While APEC delegates busy themselves ‘building a better world’ and planning an ‘inclusive growth’ among the capitalist countries, a series of attempts by the police to restrict mass actions in Metro Manila were reported; while those from Central Luzon who intend to join the mobilization of the People's Campaign Against Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG) were barred from travelling to Metro Manila. Meanwhile, military campaign of suppression in the countryside continues as illegal arrests and detention in Compostela Valley in Southern Mindanao and a military encampment in the community of Lubuagan, Kalinga in Cordillera were also reported. 
"A contingent from Canili, Maria Aurora, Aurora province was held by the 56th Infantry Battalion in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija," Palabay said. "The soldiers stopped the bus of the PCAIG contingent, claiming they were looking for a ‘criminal’. Then the soldiers took the driver's license without stating any clear violation," Palabay said. 

Spikes were also scattered on the road. The bus was able to avoid the spikes, but a motorcycle rider threw a stone at the bus, causing a crack in the front mirror. As the bus reached Rizal, Nueva Ecija, the police again stopped them and told the driver it can no longer proceed because the cracked mirror. Everyone in the bus was ordered to get off the vehicle.
"The Aurora contingent had to take the long walk to the town proper of Rizal. At the terminal, they found out that passenger vehicles were threatened by the Rizal police, forbidding them to accept passengers going to Manila. They had to walk for six kilometers towards Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija," Palabay said. The PCAIG-Aurora contingent was picked up by allied organizations as they went near Cabanatuan. As of this writing, the rally participants are still held in Cabanatuan and in Pampanga.  

Earlier, on November 14, youth members of Compostela Farmers Association were illegally arrested and detained by elements of the 66th IB-PA in Sitio Pulang Lupa, Compostela Valley. Jemboy Villafuerte and Jason Damali were accused as members of the New People's Army and told to present themselves as 'NPA surenderees’. According to initial reports, three more youth farmers were also arrested, two of them minors.  “A number of evacuees from Compostela Valley have joined the Manilakbayan 2015 who are now sheltered in the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran. Police forces have been deployed in the Church vicinity since November 14 to prevent the Lumad from going out of the Church premises, lest they join the anti-APEC mobilizations,” said Palabay.   

Palabay also said that since October 2014, more than 60 members of the Philippine army have been encamped in four homes at Ag-agama, Western Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga. The soldiers, for a month now, have been harassing residents and were on a nightly drinking spree. When drunk, these soldiers would indiscriminately fire their guns. Mothers complained that soldiers sexually harass their daughters through catcalls and indecent proposals. 
"The neoliberal policies that APEC promotes have pushed down  the majority of the Filipinos in poverty. With so much destroyed livelihood, the peasants, workers and all sectors affected by the APEC have all the right to express their opposition. Using police violence, harassment and threats to prevent the people to get near the summit and show their resistance against the pro-capitalist policies is a gross violation of our democratic right to express our views.  The so-called “vast democratic space” in the Philippines is a blatant lie," Palabay concluded.### 


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