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BAYAN USA Condemns Duterte’s Counterinsurgency Raids & Attacks in Negros, Samar, and Metro Manila

 

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson, chair@bayanusa.org

Nikole Cababa, Secretary General, secgen@bayanusa.org

Oct 31, 2019

BAYAN USA Condemns Duterte’s Counterinsurgency Raids & Attacks in Negros, Samar, and Metro Manila

BAYAN-USA condemns the recent spate of raids of regional offices of Gabriela, BAYAN MUNA and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and the mass arrest of at least 60 people in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.  Combined state forces involved in the raids include elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), who implemented this coordinated attack on progressive organizations, dubiously accused of being communist fronts. 

The increased crackdown on activists and critics of the Duterte regime is part of the ongoing counterinsurgency program, Oplan Kapanatagan and Memorandum Order 32 (MO 32).  Oplan Kapanatagan, roughly translated as “Operation Plan Stability,” is the consolidated effort of the regime to use a “whole of nation” approach in implementing the program, by directing all government agencies to carry out counter-insurgency tactics that result in trampling on the civil liberties of civilians, including activists.  

“Duterte is desperately resorting to mass raids and arbitrary arrests to silence dissent. These gestapo-style tactics are terrorizing communities and will only result in more global condemnation of his fascist regime,” said BAYAN-USA Chairperson Rhonda Ramiro.

Among those arrested in the raids included 40 members of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)/May First Movement, Nilo Rosales of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Aldrin de Cerna of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, John Milton Lozande and Danny Tabura of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), Proceso Quiatchon of the human rights group Karapatan, Anne Krueger of Paghimutad (alternative media outlet) and six minors.  In Metro Manila, as early as 5:00AM in the morning, the home of GABRIELA Metro Manila spokesperson Cora Agovida and her husband, KADAMAY (urban poor association) Metro Manila leader Michael Tan Bartolome was raided while state forces took their two children (age 2, age 10) into the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

“It is no surprise that this raid took place in Negros, also known as the ‘Sugar Bowl’ of the nation. Negros is home to the largest and some of the most lucrative sugarcane plantations in the Philippines, yet farmers and workers in Negros face deep poverty, hunger, and extreme exploitation. Clearly, Duterte and his supporters oppose any threats to their profits, and they are cracking down on workers and progressive organizations that have formed to address these issues and fight for long-term change,” stated Ramiro.

The raids in Bacolod City are just the latest in a long string of military counterinsurgency operations, which are becoming more frequent. Last November, Memorandum Order 32 (MO 32) was issued by Duterte to deploy more AFP and PNP troops to Negros, Bicol, and Samar to fully implement its state terror program to “suppress lawless violence and acts of terror. ” On October 26, the AFP Central Command and 8th Infintry Division conducted “surgical air strikes” dropping 500 pounds worth of bombs on Northern Samar communities in an attempt to wipe out the New People’s Army (NPA) in the region. In reality, the result has been de-facto martial law conditions throughout the country, with farmers and families afraid to leave their homes in fear of being tagged as NPA, separated from their land and livelihood, and vulnerable to harassment, surveillance, illegal arrests, and extrajudicial killings at the hands of state forces. Under the Duterte regime, there have been at least 87 politically-motivated killings of unarmed civilians

“Duterte’s dirty tricks will never silence the growing movement for change in the Philippines. His fascist tactics will simply fuel the fire of the movement building for his ouster,” said Ramiro. “At the same time, we also hold the U.S. government accountable for Duterte’s raids, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings, because the U.S. continues to fund, equip and collaborate with Duterte’s death squads. We condemn and demand an end to all support for the Duterte regime.”

BAYAN-USA calls on all of our member organizations and allies to stand with Negros and Samar, and launch mass protests to condemn the state terror committed by the Duterte regime.  We demand an end to Duterte’s war economy and counterinsurgency tactics funded and guided by U.S. aid to crackdown on activists in the Philippines to the tune of $193.5 million last year alone.  We stand united as part of the national democratic movement fighting for national independence, true democracy, genuine agrarian land reform, and national industries that would provide living wage jobs, a sustainable economy, and improve the lives of majority of the population composed of landless peasants and workers.  We will continue to struggle alongside our kababayan in the Philippines to expose and oppose state fascism and dictatorship, and fight for our motherland to be free!

#DefendNegros  #ActivismIsNotACrime  #EndStateFascism

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 29 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

 

Source

 

Source: Defend Negros

Among arrested are:

  1. John Milton “Ka Butch” Lozande, former fourth nominee of Anakpawis Party-list and Secretary-General of National Federation of Sugaw Workers (NFSW);
  2. Danny Tabura, leader of NFSW;
  3. Aldrin Dela Cerna, organizer of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Negros (KMP Negros);
  4. Noli Rosales, labor leader of Kilusang Mayo Uno;
  5. Romulo Bito-on, Jr, leader of Bayan Muna Party-list;
  6. and his wife Mermalyn; 
  7. May-anne Krueg of Paghimutad Media group in Negros
  8. Proceso Quiatchon, human rights defender of Karapatan-Negros; and
  9. Members of Teatro Obrero and Teatro Bungkal cultural group.

 

Brandon Lee, Survivor of Brutal U.S.-Duterte Regime, Defies Assassination Attempt to Arrive Safely to the Bay Area

Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 27, 2019

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson, chair@bayanusa.org

 

Brandon Lee, Survivor of Brutal U.S.-Duterte Regime, Defies Assassination Attempt to Arrive Safely to the Bay Area

BAYAN-USA is overjoyed to welcome Brandon Lee safely back to the United States after his medical airlift from the Philippines to San Francisco, CA. Brandon’s return was made possible by his courageous will to survive, and the outpouring of public support to save his life after he was shot by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 54th Infantry Battalion in the Cordillera region of the Philippines on August 6, 2019.  We thank everyone who contributed to his safe return through donations, fundraising events, phone calls to government officials, educational efforts to raise awareness of the human rights situation in the Philippines especially under the US-Duterte regime, and organizing to save Brandon Lee and hold his perpetrators accountable. We must continue the campaign to ensure the safety of Brandon and his family and for his full recovery. 

 

“While we are ecstatic that Brandon has come back to San Francisco alive, we are dismayed that he returned with bullets still lodged in his body–bullets that were shot by the AFP but supplied by the over $193.5 million dollars in so-called aid that U.S. provides to the Philippine military and police,” said Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Chair.  “As Filipinos in the United States, we must hold accountable both the Duterte regime, which is hunting down environmental activists and human rights defenders like Brandon, and the U.S. government, which is funding, equipping and training the death squads of Duterte and other fascists around the world. The U.S. knowingly supplies this aid to Duterte despite the over 30,000 people killed in his drug war, the more than 30 environmental defenders slaughtered in 2018 alone, and the 400 farm workers, faith leaders, lawyers, trade union organizers and other human rights defenders like Brandon who have survived assassination attempts by the Philippine military, police and paramilitary units,” stated Ramiro.

 

The level of impunity has risen to new heights under the Duterte regime. De-facto martial law blankets the whole country under the U.S.-designed counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapanatagan and Executive Order 70, which implements a “whole of nation” approach to suppressing the movement against Duterte. “‘Whole of nation’ means weaponizing the government’s entire civilian bureaucracy, treating unarmed civilians and activists like Brandon as combatants, turning health and social services into intelligence-gathering mechanisms, turning overseas embassies and consulates into Philippine police outposts, turning schools and hospitals into military encampments,” continued Ramiro. “We are thankful that Brandon is a survivor and not yet another person added to the death toll under the U.S.-Duterte regime. It took a movement of people from all walks of life to save Brandon Lee, and it will take a movement to change the rotten system in the Philippines into one that Brandon was fighting alongside the Filipino people for–one that provides genuine freedom and democracy, one that truly benefits the whole country,” ended Ramiro.

 

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(For US $ aid See ICHRP reference)

Marcos, Duterte! Walang Pinag-Iba! Never Again to Dictatorship & Martial Law in the Philippines!

 

On the 47th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos, we remember the atrocities committed by the dictatorship upon the Filipino people for the 14 years it was in effect. More importantly, we draw inspiration from the people power movement which overthrew the Marcos regime, and today call on the people to continue the legacy of resistance to oust today’s undeclared dictator, Rodrigo Duterte. 

Under Duterte, the Philippines has achieved international notoriety for cold-blooded killings, even surpassing the death toll reached during martial law under Marcos, with Duterte’s “drug war” or Oplan Tokhang murders claiming the lives of 30,000 people. This number does not include those murdered under Duterte’s counterinsurgency programs, dubiously named Oplan Kapayapaan (“peace”) and the recent Oplan Kapanatagan (“stability”), which use illegal and discredited tactics of vilifying community organizations and individual activists by labeling them as “terrorists.” 

Duterte has also steamrolled his efforts to militarize the entire civilian bureaucracy of the government, by implementing Executive Order 70 (EO 70), appointing former military and police officials to cabinet positions, and forming the so-called National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict chaired by the President himself. EO 70 gives all government agencies a role in the counterinsurgency program and plan–even while neglecting their responsibility to provide housing health care, education, and other social welfare services that the people need. In effect, EO 70 results in a de facto martial law upon the whole country. This is in addition to Oplan Sauron and Memorandum Order 32 in Negros, Samar, and Bicol, as well as the officially declared martial law in Mindanao. 

According to Karapatan-Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, there have been a recorded 266 victims of politically motivated extrajudicial killings as a direct result of Duterte’s counterinsurgency programs. These programs purposely target unarmed civilians, particularly those standing up against government policies and corporate projects that displace indigenous communities en masse, extract precious resources, and exploit workers and the land for profit. Just this past August, Brandon Lee, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s paralegal volunteer and provincial human rights officer in Ifugao, was shot multiple times by alleged elements of the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (54th IBPA). The attempted murder took place after Brandon had been eroneously marked an “enemy of the state” and the 54th IBPA had begun intensifying its harassment and surveillance of Brandon, coinciding with the commuity’s efforts to oppose the building of a mega-hydropower plant on indigenous land. Originally from San Francisco, California, Brandon moved to the Philippines in 2010 and is the first US citizen to fall victim to the US-Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program. At this time, Lee is still fighting for his life and is in need of an emergency evacuation for him and his family back to the United States for their safety as well as continued care. 

It is no surprise that the National Democratic movement is being attacked. BAYAN and its member organizations, such as GABRIELA and Anakbayan, are all being targeted by state forces, which are threatened by our decades of tireless work to address the issues of the masses and fight for liberation in the Philippines. Duterte’s escalation of fascist measures exposes his desperation to cling to power.

 

Duterte is a dictator. Everything he has said and done has been at the expense of the Filipino people who feel the brunt of his brutal tyranny. 

 

There is only one solution to this type of tyranny. The people must rise up together across all sectors of society to topple the US-Duterte regime once and for all. We must not wait until a formal declaration of martial law is given to oust the US-Duterte regime. We must build the strength and people power that will force Duterte out–and then we must keep fighting against the rotten system until we achieve genuine freedom and democracy for the Philippines. 

 

We are calling on all supporters and allies to take action to support Brandon and the National Democratic movement in the Philippines by: 

  • Writing a Support/Solidarity Letter (Here is a template letter to help get it started)
  • Making a Video with a Solidarity Message 
  • Donating HERE to support bringing Brandon Lee back to the Bay Area safely.

 

 

Never Again to a Fascist Dictatorship!

Fight Tyranny! Resist Duterte’s dictatorship!

Stop the Killings! Stop the Attacks!

Justice for Brandon Lee! Save Brandon Now!

End Martial Law in Mindanao Now!

 

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Aug 20: BAYAN-USA Joins the Global Day of Mourning Condemning the Spate of Killings in Negros and Attacks by Government Forces

BAYAN USA joins the global day of mourning for Negros and condemns the attacks by the government on unarmed civilians.  We call on our member organizations and allies to join the Malaya Movement actions across the U.S. to condemn this violent attacks on civilians by the U.S.-Duterte regime.

Unfortunately it is no coincidence that there have been concentrated attacks by the government in Negros Oriental, reaching up to 48 extrajudicial killings this year alone. The U.S.-Duterte regime launched the Oplan Kapanatagan counterinsurgency plan earlier this year, and it is being felt nation-wide especially in conjunction with Executive Order 70- the “Whole of Nation” approach to rid the country of the “communist armed conflict.” Subsequently, the government launched Oplan Sauron, an “intensified campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Negros Oriental.” In effect, the government has declared war upon civilians and unarmed organizations that they deem as “communist-terrorist groups” or “front organizations” of the CPP-NPA-NDF, shooting to kill. Bulatlat news reported “in just four days, 13 civilians have been shot dead. In just one day, July 25, seven were killed. ‘They (The PNP) were accusing the victims as NPA and now they’re claiming that the NPA is the one behind these killings,’ Judy Taguiwalo said, former Secretary of Social Welfare.” 

 

“ ‘Whole of Nation’ means that it’s not just the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) that will be doing the dirty work of Duterte. Duterte is weaponizing the entire government bureaucracy, by including multiple departments in a National Task Force to implement this bloody crackdown,” stated Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA. 

“We’ve already seen what they’re capable of doing. A prime example is the Department of Education’s closure of 55 Lumad schools because they arbitrarily declared that these schools teach students to rebel against the government.  These sweeping accusations attempt to hide the fact that these schools were made because the government did not provide any in the rural areas of Mindanao. It is not a crime for these schools to incorporate indigenous culture and educate them on their rights to their ancestral lands–that is responsible education.”

 

In addition, the U.S. and the Philippines just signed an agreement to establish a counterterrorism training center in Cavite to be jointly operated by both countries, with the U.S. giving the PNP $10 million dollars in counterterrorism partnership funds.  The U.S. has provided funding to the AFP and the PNP in full knowledge of the human rights violations under the Duterte regime and his fascist violent suppression. 

 

“Knowing the track record of the  police, funding this counterterrorism training center is basically like finding the next ‘School of the Americas’ in southeast Asia. It shows that Trump is committed to funding additional extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests and detention of innocent people,” stated Ramiro. 

We continue to call for an end to all U.S. aid to the Philippines! 

We call on an independent investigation on the attempted murder of U.S. citizen Brandon Lee!

We call on all peace loving people to take a stand against the rotten fascist U.S.-Duterte regime!