For Immediate Release
March 7, 2021
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
GABRIELA USA CONDEMNS THE ATTACKS BY PHILIPPINE STATE FORCES IN SOUTHERN TAGALOG PHILIPPINES
GABRIELA USA condemns the horrifying scenes of mass arrests and murders by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Early morning Sunday, in a coordinated effort by the PNP, multiple trade unionists, human rights workers, peasant and fisherfolk organizers were arrested using fake warrants and planted evidence and others were murdered in cold blood in the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Laguna.
Those arrested include: trade unionist Steve Mendoza, Executive Vice President of the Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (OLALIA-KMU); Elizabeth Camoral, spokesman of BAYAN-Laguna; Nimfa Lanzanas, human rights worker and paralegal aid with Kapatid Southern Tagalog; Eugene Eugenio with Confederation for Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) Rizal. Those murdered include: Michael Dasigao and Mark “Makmak” Lee Coros Bacasno with San Isidro Kasiglahan, Kapatiran at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan, Katarungan at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD-K3); Manny Assuncion, spokesperson of BAYAN Cavite; Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista with Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS KA). The 10 year old child of Chai and Ariel Evangelista managed to escape the horrific incident.
The baseless arrests and brutal murders mirror the Tokhang style of attacks carried out by the Duterte regime against urban poor communities in his supposed War on Drugs. Now Duterte and his henchmen use the same tactics against human rights defenders and accuse them of being terrorists to justify their arrests and murders.
The coordinated assault against activists in Southern Tagalog came at the heels of a speech made by Philippine President Duterte in which he ordered the PNP and AFP to disregard human rights and kill suspected rebels. The Southern Luzon Command Chief and spokesman is none other than terror-tagger Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. who also heads the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Parlade continuously terror-tags activists and critics who speak out against the anti-people policies of the Duterte government and who support the people’s demands for societal change.
The killings of Duterte’s critics heighten while the US state department recently approved a military aid package for the Philippines. Philippines Ambassador to the United States Jose Manual Romualdez confirmed that, “We will get something like 10 more Blackhawk helicopters coming to the Philippines within this year.” The aid package from the US comes after Duterte demanded payment from the United States to retain the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military agreement between the United States and the Philippines.
“We hold the Duterte Regime accountable for the murders and arrests that took place on this Bloody Sunday. We also demand that the Biden administration end all security assistance to the Philippines because we know that the weapons sent to the Philippines will be used by Duterte to kill more human rights defenders in his counterinsurgency program,” said Irma Shauf-Bajar, GABRIELA USA Chairperson. ”We continue to fight against Duterte’s tyranny in these trying times so that those who dedicated their lives to defend the most oppressed and exploited in our motherland would not have died in vain. We will continue in the spirit of their work and we will persevere in the struggle to end this fascist regime.”
GABRIELA USA calls on all kababayan in the US and abroad to join us in the struggle to stop the killings, defend southern tagalog, and end the fascist Duterte Regime. We call on our allies and those who believe in defending human rights to support the Philippines Human Rights Act to cut U.S. military aid to the Philippines.
Defend Southern Tagalog!
Stop the Attacks!
Junk Terror Law!
Oust Duterte Now!