December 13, 2019 (12:31 AM)

3 min read


HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY. Progressive groups call for human rights action in a mass mobilization held at Roxas Freedom Park last December 10, the date dedicated for Human Rights celebration. Photo by Jamrell Vincette Buynay

In commemoration of the 71st year of the International Human Rights Day, Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region (SMR), along with people’s organizations under Bayan-SMR, conducted a mass mobilization at Freedom Park, Roxas Street.

According to Karapatan-SMR Secretary-General Jay Apiang, the abuses on Lumads and activists such as red-tagging remain after 71 years.

“Moabot na sa 96 sa mga aktibista ka mga mag-uuma ang gipatay ilalom sa pagpatuman sa Oplan Kapayapaan,” Apiang said.

These activists were said to be assassinated because of their firm stand in political engagements and assertion for justice. 66 of the 96 victims were documented under the imposition of martial law.

“Ang tanging layunin lang naman namin ay manawagan ng hustisya but kami ay nirered-tag,” he added.

Apiang further stated that the Executive Order No. 70 or the formation of a national task force to end the local communist armed conflict is a way to weaponize the judicial system.

“Kaya nga dumadami ang mga kinakasuhan nga gawa-gawang kaso. In fact, umabot na ngayon sa 101 political prisoners,” the Secretary-General said.

Most of the political prisoners are activists. They were said to be accused of common crimes so that they could not participate in democratic assertions.

“Magkaiba naman kami ng porma. Ang NPA is waging armed resistance. We are waging parliamentary resistance,” he shared.

Another law Apiang fears will be passed is the Human Security Act (HAS) or the anti-terror law. According to him, activists and members of the media will become targets for punishment.

“Halimbawa ikaw ay nag quote ng statement ng NPA leader or anyone from the progressive sectors, that’s automatically glorification of terrorism at pwede kang arestohin,” he explained.

Instead of passing the HSA, Apiang suggested that the peace talks by President Rodrigo be continued to hear out the people’s needs and recognize their fundamental rights.

“Yung sinsabi nating agreement on socio-economic reforms, yung national industrialization, yung paano protektahan ang kalikasan, pagbibigay ng libreng lupa para sa mga magsasaka at yung pag bubuo ng mga trabaho para sa manggagawa… Ito sana ang mga pinag-uusapan sa peace talks,” he added.

The closing of the Salugpungan schools, on the other hand, was said to be another abuse of power to the Lumads as the schools that were shut down had legal permits to operate.

“Ang mga curriculums nila under sa DepEd and they have permits to operate. We have proof. Meron kaming hawak na documents to prove ang legality ng existence ng Salugpungan ng mga Lumad schools,” Apiang shared.

He continued to contradict the DepEd’s statement on terrorist groups teaching the students to use firearms.

“Yung argument nila na nagtuturo ng mga pag disarm, dismantle ng guns, wala naman silang napatunayan and in fact, marami ng nakapag tapos ng mga Salugpungan at naging teacher din ng Lumad schools,” he said.

Apiaga then called out the government for the resumption of peace talks to address the root causes of armed conflict instead of passing another law to suppress activists and people who demand justice.

“Bakit nag rarally ang mga tao? The government should address this call,” he concluded.

End the silence of the gagged!

© 2024 Atenews

Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy