3 fisherfolk leaders, organizers on DOJ’s “terror list”

3 fisherfolk leaders, organizers on DOJ’s “terror list”IMG_20170118_104842.jpg

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) decries the Department of Justice (DOJ) petition to declare more than 600 individuals as “terrorists” in pursuant to “The Human Security Act of 2007”.

Among the individuals included on the list are the three fisherfolk leaders and organizers in the province of Batangas including Erlindo Baes who is the present Spokesperson of PAMALAKAYA’s provincial chapter Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT), HABAGAT’s Chairperson Elsie Lucero, and HABAGAT organizer Marilyn Hernandez.

The said names were listed as Marilyn Hernandez (STRPC), Erlindo Baes (STRPC), and Elsie Lucero (STRPC) on page 7 of the document.

The group said the three are active in legitimate sectoral struggles in the province including the campaign against the conversion of Barangay Laiya, San Juan, Batangas into private beach resort that demolished more than 600 fishing families in 2014; as well as the fight against the planned mining operation in Verde Island Passage in Lobo, Batangas in 2015.

PAMALAKAYA questions the basis of the DOJ’s proscription case when some of the names listed remain visible in public assemblies and negotiations in several government agencies regarding fisherfolk issues. The three fisherfolk leaders were even present at the multi-sectoral protest in Manila last February 24 in commemoration to the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA uprising.

“How can it be act of terrorism if the people in the list are legally fighting for the protection of marine environment and welfare of the fisherfolk?”

We are highly alarmed by this DOJ proscription list because even those legitimate members of legal people’s organizations are included and are subjected to illegal arrest, harassment, and other human rights abuses,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list solon said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA also condemned the strafing of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) that happened yesterday in Sitio Kapehan, Barangay Patugo, Balayan, Batangas at around 10:30 in the morning. Residents reported that they heard at least two rounds of strafing in the area, resulting to fear and panic among the residents.

The military operations in the countryside are now more intense than ever following the government’s witch hunt of alleged members of armed rebel group,” the fisherfolk leader added.

“This is clearly the Duterte administration’s desperate move to silence vocal critics and pursue its total authoritarian rule. Duterte will surely face a storm of electrifying protests from patriotic sectors to prove that the struggle for a genuine democracy continues amid the crackdown,” ended Hicap. ###

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