Harassment and violent demolition in Patungan a flaw to GRP’s sincerity in peace
settlement with NDFP
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) scores the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the violent demolition they perpetrated in Brgy. Patungan, Maragondon, Cavite on Monday; saying this might create clog in the peaceful negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The violent demolition happened the day after President Duterte restored its unilateral ceasefire on August 21.
“In the wake of President Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration, more than 500 elements of the PNP and Philippine Air Force (PAF) have trooped Brgy. Patungan to escort the demolition team and execute the demolition order issued on July 12,”
“They were all fully armed. In response to the residents who collectively resisted the demolition, PNP and PAF have fired their guns in the ground and used tear gas to disperse and intimidate us,” Susan Agner, a resident of Patungan and Spokesperson of Save Patungan Now Movement (SPNM) said.
Despite the violence and harassment by the state forces, the residents have frustrated the demolition, only 12 houses were demolished. With the militant defiance of the fisherfolk and residents to defend their houses, the PNP and PAF have turned into its last resort; red tagging. They desperately spread text messages that some residents are members of the New People’s Army (NPA) thus they need to intensify their presence in the community.
Meanwhile, Pamalakaya criticized the armed forces for this is worse than violation of their own-declared ceasefire and also violates the ongoing peace negotiations between the NDFP and GPH.
“Despite the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the GRP, AFP and PNP forces increase by the day. They have made Patungan a total war zone. Their presence escalates the tension among the residents of Brgy. Patungan and brought fear to the children,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
Pamalakaya said that one of the substantive agendas tabled in the peace negotiations is by addressing the right to livelihood of the Filipino people through NDFP’s Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER). This includes the genuine land reform that will uplift the livelihoods of the rural people including farmers and fisherfolk.
“We call on the attention of AFP Chief Ricardo Visaya and PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to look into the possible cahoots between their forces on the ground with Henry Sy, a business-tycoon who is behind the coastal conversion in Patungan,”
“How ironic that while representatives from both parties have talked about rooting out the armed conflict in the country through social and economic reforms, fishers and farmers are deprived from their right to livelihood through massive land grabbing and displacement with the backing of GRP’s state forces. We call on President Duterte to investigate this matter; immediately pull out his troops and stop the rampant demolition of fishing communities for the sake of a peaceful conclusion between the GRP and the NDFP,” Hicap ended. ###