BAYAN USA decries the brutal string of killings and arrests on March 7 against activists in the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines, which resulted in at least 9 deaths and 6 arrests at the hands of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). We hold President Duterte and his minions in the PNP and AFP wholly accountable, especially General Antonio Parlade Jr., Southern Luzon Commander of the AFP.
Among those killed were Manny Asuncion (BAYAN Cavite Secretary General), Michael Dasigao & Makmak (members of an organization affiliated with KADAMAY, a federation of urban poor groups), and Chai Lemita Evangelista & Ariel Evangelista (members of environmental justice organization UMALPAS KA). Those arrested include Steve Mendoza, Nimfa Lanzanas, Elizabeth Camoral, Eugene Eugenio, Dondong Bagsik, and Tatay Moises, all of whom are leaders and representatives across trade union, political prisoner, government employee, and peasant sectors.
The massacre and mass arrests were conducted via “Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operations” (SEMPO) between the PNP and AFP. These are the same tactics used by state forces that turned Negros Island into a killing field from the mass murder of peasant activists, as well as the recent brutality against indigenous Tumandok people in Capiz and Iloilo.
The targets of this most recent attack signal that the Duterte regime remains hellbent on crushing its strongest opposition: the masses of toiling workers, peasants, and impoverished people fighting for land, livelihood, and liberation from the exploitation they face at the hands of the Philippines’ ruling few. For this reason, Duterte and Parlade continue to justify their fascist violence by vilifying activism as terrorism through measures such as the Anti-Terror Law and Executive Order 70.
As the largest overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines, we in BAYAN USA echo the people’s demands to free all those arrested; to conduct an independent and credible investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and Congress; and to ensure the Supreme Court take immediate steps to prevent the further weaponization of search warrants and other judicial instruments to silence activists, political dissenters and government critics. We also demand US Congress to immediately end all security assistance to the Philippines—which bankrolls the PNP and AFP’s attacks against activists—by reintroducing and passing the Philippine Human Rights Act, as well as to end all unequal military agreements with the Philippines, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement, that train killer cops and soldiers.
Most importantly, we call on all Filipinos and our allies to link together and grow the people’s movement to demand justice for the slain and imprisoned, to oust the fascist Duterte from power, and to resolutely continue the fight our most recent martyrs offered their lives to for a country that is genuinely free.
Defend Southern Tagalog!
Stop the Attacks!
Junk Terror Law!
Oust Duterte Now!