10 activists arrested in 3 days: Fishers group condemns intensified political persecution of activists
Manila, Philippines – The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) condemned the intensified political persecution of activists such as the mass arrest of 7 human rights defenders in Palawan and 3 peasant activists in Northern Samar. The group said that these are cogent evidences of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tyranny and de facto martial law rule, aside from the mounting cases of extra-judicial killings against peasants and activists across the country.
“Ilang araw lang, sampu ang idinagdag ng rehimen sa bilang ng mga political prisoners sa bansa. Ipinapakita nito na ang mga mismong karapatang nakasaad sa ating consitution ay hindi iginagalang ng gubyerno. Ang mga aktibista sa mga probinsya, ma-organisa at maglunsad lang ng mga aktibidad ay agarang ginagawan ng kaso at pinagbibintangang NPA,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.
The right to people’s organization is clearly stated on Article XIII Social Justice and Human Rights of the 1987 constitution.
The group condemned the dubious arrest of Glendhyl Malabanan, former Secretary-General of Karapatan – Southern Tagalog human rights group, and six other activists on the night of October 4, in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province. Malabanan’s group came from Taytay town after its fact-finding mission on human rights abuses against peasants. They were accosted by a combined group of police and military forces at a checkpoint and brought to another checkpoint where the fabricated evidences were located. The modus operandi was similar to what was carried out against 9 activists, who were arrested in Escalante City, Negros Occidental on September 18.
On October 2, a peasant organizer of the Northern Samar Small Fisherfolk Association (NSSFA) Christian Sabado and 2 companions were arrested in Las Navas town of the said province by elements of the Philippine Army and accused them of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA). Sabado is a former student of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and was researching on the impact of crop infestation on peasants’ livelihood, as part of the groups campaign.
“Kitang kita ang mensahe ng mga atakeng ito na gagawan ka ng kaso at ikukulong kung aktibista ka. Ito ay pananakot sa malawak na mamamayan, para hindi mag-protesta o tuligsain ang mga maling pamamalakad ng gubyerno. Ito ay paglabag sa demokrasya at karapatang pantao,” Hicap said.
The fisherfolk leader said that this is not just an attack against the so-called “nationalist and democratic” activists who are usually red-tagged as members of the NPA, but an assault to the people’s democratic rights and carrying out of a militarist rule across the country.
“Ito ay terorismo ng estado at dapat labanan ito ng lahat ng mamamayan at palagian namang target ng atake ang mga aktibista na kritikal sa kabulukan ng gubyerno. Kapag nagtagumpay ang mga pasista, walang makapipigil sa kanila sa pag-abuso sa mas malawak pang mamamayan. Kaya ngayon pa lang, dapat sumama na ang iba’t ibang sektor o grupo sa panawagang ‘Stop The Attacks’ at ‘Stop Killing Farmers,’” he explained.
PAMALAKA called for the immediate and unconditional releases of the arrested activists and demanded accountability of government armed forces who fabricated the charges. ###