1 November 2019
Reference: Elmer Labog, ILPS-Phils Chair
The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) joins the global community and rights defenders in condemning the mass arrests of Filipino social movement leaders yesterday, October 31, in the cities of Manila and Bacolod.
More than 50 activists were illegally arrested in Bacolod City, in Negros island being subjected to intensified military attacks under Pres. Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32 and the U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations. The order is an extension of martial law in Mindanao earlier declared after the Marawi City siege in which U.S. Special Forces joined operations. Duterte’s order targetted activists in Negros, Samar and Bicol being red-tagged as having links in the world’s longest-running insurgency.
While Pres. Trump was ecstatic in triumphalism over the unconfirmed death of terrorist leader Abu Bakr Bahgdadi in Syria, Pres. Duterte could only show several attacks on social activists and children in the Philippines.
At around 5:00 p.m. on October 31, combined units from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the 3rd IB of the Philippine Army of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) raided the offices of Bayan Muna, Gabriela and the National Federation of Sugar Workers in Bacolod City-based on search warrants reportedly issued by a Quezon City court.
Among those arrested are: Romulo Bito-on Jr of Bayan Muna and his wife Mermalyn; John Milton Lozande secretary general of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW); Noli Rosales of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU); Proceso Quiatchon of Karapatan; Aldrin De Cerna of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Danny Tabura of NFSW. Others include 6 minors who are members of Teatro Obrero.
Earlier in the day, at around 5:00 in the morning, combined elements of the CIDG and the Manila Police District forcibly entered the house of Cora Agovida and her husband Mickael Tan Bartolome. Cora is the Chairperson of Gabriela – Manila while Mickael is an organizer of Kadamay.
Two young children of Cora and Mickael, ages 10 and 2 years old, were in the house when their parents were arrested and are now being held at the Manila Reception and Action Center (RAC).
Those arrested were all leaders and defenders of farmers, workers, urban poor, women and children in strong opposition to the US-Duterte fascist regime.
The ILPS-Philippines calls on rights defenders and the international community to demand the immediate release of all those arrested and press counter-charges against the US and Manila governments. We support the impartial investigation of the International Criminal Court and the UNHRC on these rights violations. We call on all foreign governments and investors to stop giving aid to the tyrannical US-Duterte regime.