Stop fascist attacks against the people, continue GRP-NDFP peace talks

“Warmongers like Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the AFP are lying through their teeth when they assure the public that there will be no human rights violations despite the military’s declaration of an all-out war against the New People’s Army (NPA). Military abuses against communities and activists continue with the implementation of Oplan Kapayapaan, the new counter-insurgency program of the Duterte administration,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

“Decades of armed rebellion in the Philippines prove that state violence and terror attacks as response to people’s resistance will only fire up the people’s fight. We reiterate our call to Pres. Duterte to continue the peace talks with the NDFP, especially after the progress made in the draft agreements on socio-economic reforms,” Palabay continued.

She added that “fascist attacks against the people are bound to continue, or even escalate, with the declaration of an all-out war against the NPA by the Department of National Defense (DND), the government’s formal termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and threats to arrest peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).”

“The military and police become more emboldened to sow terror, just as they did during Cory Aquino’s Oplan Lambat Bitag, Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya and BS Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan,” she explained.

In January 2017 alone, at least four peasant activists were killed by state security forces. Threats against leaders of progressive organizations and military occupation of schools and farmers’ homes remain unabated.

With the recent developments, along with the lifting of the GRP unilateral ceasefire, the following cases of state terrorism have been reported to Karapatan:

  1. On February 3, 2017, at around 5am, Matanem Lorendo Pocuan was shot dead in Sitio Tapayanon, Brgy. Mangaod, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon. He was shot at close range inside his neighbor Datu Magellan’s house by Oba Ilocan, a known member of the paramiliary group Alamara. Pocuan was a respected elder of the Omayam/Matigsalog tribe of Cabanglasan. Since 2010, Alamara paramilitary forces have been coercing members of Pocuan’s community to join them. Pocuan was tagged as a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA) as he opposed military operations in the community.  
  2. On February 3, lumad leader Renato Anglao, 42, Secretary General of TINDOGA (Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association), was killed by three men on board a motorcycle. TINDOGA, an indigenous people’s organization of the Manobo-Pulangion tribe in Brgy. Botong, Quezon, Bukidnon, has consistently opposed the entry of agri-business plantations in the ancestral land of the lumad.
  3. On February 6, 2017, at around 11:30am, Emelito Rotimas, 48, purok chairman of Purok 6, Brgy. Lapu-Lapu, Maco, Compostela Valley and member of Anakpawis, was outside the campus of the Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao, Inc. (CTCSM) when two men on board a motorcycle shot him four times, while he was talking to students. Rotimas was actively involved in the campaigns against military encroachment in communities.
  4. On February 6, around 10 am, NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario and his two companions, labor organizer Roderick Mamuyac and driver Jun Sinday, were apprehended by a military checkpoint manned by Task Force Davao in Sirawan, Toril, Davao City. Mamuyac and Sinday were later released, while Arbitrario was re-arrested based on verbal pronouncements and orders of Pres. Duterte vis a vis the peacetalks.
  5. On February 6, at 6pm, Rogina Navarro Quilop, 49, Administrative Officer of Center for People's Resources and Services (CPRS), an NGO delivering relief and other services in Negros, was arrested by members of CIDG-PNP in front of Puregold Supermarket at Brgy. 10, Bacolod City. Along with other progressive leaders she was confronted with a fabricated charge of murder. Quilop was brought to the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO). Previously, she was wrongly charged of arson, detained, but later on released after dismissal of charges by the court. 
"We call on the Filipino people to remain steadfast in the struggle for just and lasting peace and the fight against the government’s fascist attacks against its people,” Palabay concluded.