BAYAN Canada statement on coordinated attacks against progressives
We are alarmed at the staggering attacks by the Duterte regime on legal organizations who defend people’s rights. Police and military continue to escalate the political persecution of Filipino activists with mass arrests, filing of trumped-up cases, forced disappearances, targeted killings, and public disinformation.
On the evening of October 31, state security forces barged into the offices of four legal progressive groups in Bacolod, Negros island, central Philippines. The joint police and military operatives simultaneously raided the offices of Bayan, Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Karapatan, Gabriela, the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), and the Negros Island Health Integrated Program, along with the residence of local leaders. At least 57 people, including minors, were illegally arrested justified by the police after the planted guns and grenades in their offices.
Early morning that same day, in Paco, Manila, police barged into the house of women’s group GABRIELA Manila and arrested Chairperson Cora Agovida together with her husband Tim Bartolome of urban poor group KADAMAY. The cops took their two children, aged 10 and 2, and planted guns and grenades in their home to justify the arrests. Search warrants for all raids – in Manila, Bacolod and Escalante – were released by one judge, Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89, who is now notorious for releasing spurious search warrants against activists.
In southern Luzon island, labor leader and former political prisoner Reynaldo Malaborbor, 64, was shot by still unidentified gunmen in front of his house on Monday evening, November 4. In souther Mindanao region, human rights defender Honey Mae ‘Hanimay’ Suazo is still missing since she left their home last November 2 to visit her departed loved ones in Panabo, Davao del Norte. She was last seen onboard a motorcycle on her way home. As if that were not enough, martial law has crept to even the National Capital Region when police similarly raided BAYAN office in Manila and arrested three activists there.
The iniquity of these lies in a whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict is a policy of attrition against the people that has taken form in Duterte’s time of mass arrests, filing of trumped-up cases, forced disappearances, public disinformation, and bloodletting that have turned far-flung places into war zones.
As overseas Filipinos, we recognize the strength of organizational and personal relationship built throughout the many years of people to people solidarity between Canadian trade unionists, health workers, human rights advocates, youth organizers and their Philippine counterparts.
Bayan organizations in Canada and a broad spectrum of Canadian people are deeply concerned by the brazen fascist suppression against national democratic organizations. We demand an immediate stop to the regime’s attacks against activists, farmers, trade unionists and human rights workers in Negros. Canada must pull it’s support from this rising dictatorship. We call on people everywhere to swarm the Philippine embassies and consulates everywhere in solidarity with other people’s of the world demonstrating against the rising fascism and neoliberal crisis happening in Central and South America as well as in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Together, let us crank up the mass movement against crackdown of popular dissent.
Junk trumped up charges against activists and human rights defenders.
Release all political prisoners, including the minors.
Surface the disappeared.
BAYAN Canada, an overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance), is an alliance of organizations of Filipino migrant workers, women and youth, indigenous people, church people, healthcare workers and professionals committed to advancing the cause of genuine national independence, people’s democracy and a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.