BAYAN-Canada cannot fully express our indignation at the continued state-sponsored terrorism in the Philippines. We condemn the merciless killing of Zara Alvarez, 39, volunteer health worker, rights defender and peacebuilder, who was gunned down by an unidentified assailant last August 17, 2020 in Bacolod City, central Philippines. We extend our sincerest sympathies to her family and the communities she left behind.
For many of us in Canada who had met her, she is a friend and a dear kasama. It is impossible to reconcile the Zara we knew with the person that government propaganda portrayed her to be. Only cowards will take a life the way they took Zara’s.
A petite woman with a huge heart for the marginalized and oppressed from the urban poor to landless peasants and farmhands in haciendas, she wholeheartedly fought for the rights, welfare and dignity of those who have been neglected and abandoned by this reactionary regime. She devoted her life tirelessly working for justice and peace in the land. For her advocacy, she was criminalized and imprisoned for nearly two years. Zara was involved in multiple initiatives including coordinator for Defend Negros campaign, paralegal for rights group Karapatan-Negros Island and was the Research and Advocacy Officer of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program (NIHIP) for community development for many years.
Who else will serve the people for their right to health? Who will defend the defenders? Who will strive to resolve the conflicts that plague our communities?
We may have lost her to the hands of state executioners, but we pledge to keep our solid fortress protecting our people and our freedoms. The Duterte regime is afraid of indomitable activists like Zara, who refuse to be cowed despite the constant vilification and death threats by vicious state agents. We only know one outcome that could deliver justice, and that is to dismantle the oppressive system: Oplan Sauron 1 & 2, Memorandum Order 32, Anti-Terrorism Law and the NTF-ELCAC through which extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations have been perpetrated by the fascist dictatorship. One step forward is to end the U.S.-Duterte regime.
Kinitil ng pasistang rehimeng Duterte ang buhay ng isang dakila at huwarang ina, guro, at aktibista. Ngunit hindi kayang patayin ang kaniyang mga adhikain at prinsipyp na patuloy na nagliliyab sa puso at isip ng bawat masang Pilipino hanggang makamit ang tunay na kalayaan, kapayapaan at demokrasya.
BAYAN Canada calls on our kababayan, migrant workers, women, youth, church people, the media, and all other sectors to demand for justice and peace. We must emulate the peasants in growing the mass movement and advance the struggle for national democracy in the Philippines with a socialist perspective.
Justice for Zara Alvarez!
Justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings!
Junk the Terror Law!
Oust Duterte now!