Palawan fisherfolk appeals to CHR to act against baseless red-tagging by local anti-communist task force
Manila, Philippines – Local leaders of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) from Palawan province sought dialogue with officials of the Commission of Human Rights at their office in Quezon City and appealed for intervention against the red-tagging campaign by the Palawan Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (Palawan TF ELCAC). The fascist body accuses 22 legal and democratic organizations, primarily PAMALAKAYA and Anakpawis Palawan Provincial Chapter, and including lawyers and religious groups, and 25 private individuals. The victims were accompanied by PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap.
“We are seeking the aid of the CHR, as the actions of the Palawan TF ELCAC are threatening the lives and safety of activists, lawyers and even religious leaders. This local office of the National Task Force created by Duterte’s Executive Order 70, is undermining the respect for human rights and peace in the island which is known for its pristine natural tourist spots,” Hicap said in a press statement.
Members of PAMALAKAYA-Palawan believed that the red-tagging against them is a reprisal of their being at the forefront of advancing fishing rights and against over-fishing of big commercial fishing vessels and illegal entry to municipal fishing grounds.
“Sa mata ng AFP, basta aktibista ka, na ipinaglalaban mo ang karapatan mo, sa kaso ng Pamalakaya ay para makapangisda sila at labanan ang malalaking fishing vessels, ay mga myembro agad ng NPA. Hindi kinikilala ng AFP ang mismong konstitusyon ng Pilipinas, kung saan nakasaad sa Bill of Rights ang mga karapatan ng mamamayan,” Hicap elaborated.
He highlighted the case of Norly Bernabe, the leader of Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Okupante, Residente, Manggagawa at Magsasaka (PLORMM) in Taytay town and Provincial Coordinator of Anakpawis Palawan, who was accused of trumped up murder charges in February. He was active in opposing the 400-hectare land grabbing by Guevent Dev’t Corp. in Pujalte Estate and displacement of peasants and residents.
“Bukod sa mga aktibista, may mga pribadong indibidwal pang pinagbibintangan ang Palawan Task Force, na siguradong nalalagay sa panganib ngayon, dahil ang red-tagging list nila ay sa aktwal hitlist. Karaniwan na sa mga biktima ng extra-judicial killing sa bansa, bago sila patayin ay nagiging biktima ng red-tagging,” Hicap stressed.
The fisherfolk leader urged various sectors to support the people’s campaign of Palawan activists for respect for human rights.
“Gusto naming itambol ang kalagayan ng mamamayan ng Palawan dahil ayaw naming matulad ito sa ibang lugar na kung saan naganap ang mga massacre, mass killing at iba pang porma ng human rights violations. Makakasama sa bansa ang pasistang paghahari ng gubyerno, dahil lang sa pakana ng Palawan Task Force, ay mababahiran ng dugo ang malinaw na karagatan ng isla. Panawagan ng mga taga-Palawan ay respeto sa human rights at kapayapaan, at pagtigil sa mga atake sa mga ligal at demokratikong aktibista,” he ended. ###