Manila, Philippines – The militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) adds its voice to the growing opposition against arming of civilians purportedly for the government’s anti-criminality drive, saying the proposal is meant to use civilians as tools for President Duterte’s high crimes against humanity.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said arming civilians could lead to “heightened and legalized vigilantism resulting to lawlessness and indiscriminate killings” of another civilians.
“On top of Mr. Duterte’s traditional partners in crimes which are the police and military forces, he also wants to legally equip civilians with a deadly and fatal tool. We’ve already seen this with the bloody war on drugs and campaign of terror against democratic activists and progressive organizations. It is meant to justify and put legal blanket to the killing spree and human rights abuses of the Duterte government under the guise of fighting criminality,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The proposal, PAMALAKAYA added, is in spite of the landmark International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate the administration’s war on drugs, which was known for its vigilante killing spree.
The fishers’ group also warned that the armed civilian units could be used as private armies and goons by warlord politicians to advance their political interests in the upcoming 2022 elections.
“Duterte’s proposal is extremely dangerous and alarming as it could intensify election related violence. Aside from using it against activists and suspected drug addicts, traditional and warlord politicians might commission these armed groups to attack their political rivals in the 2022 polls,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon added.
“Instead, government-backed paramilitary groups involved in human rights violations and impunity should be disarmed and disbanded. We are calling on the peaceful-loving citizens to frustrate this sinister plan of the Duterte administration that would create chaos than order in our communities,” ended Hicap. ###