The International League of Peoples’ Struggle Philippines (ILPS Philippines) demands the release of urban poor women activists of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) who were arrested on July 27, the day of President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address. Kadamay is a member organization of the ILPS Philippines.
Kadamay is an urban poor organization which occupied vacant government housing in Pandi, Bulacan last 2017 as an assertion of the basic right to housing. Members of Kadamay have been subject to intensified harassment by state security forces because of their militant movement in Pandi and their countrywide resistance to the demolition of squatter colonies for the construction of capitalist infrastructure under the government’s neoliberal agenda.
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, the plight of the urban poor and other marginalized sectors have worsened. Demolition of squatter colonies throughout Metro Manila have continued despite the health crisis. The government’s massive loans from global financial institutions for the pandemic response have not translated into social and financial aid for those on the fringes of society.
Janet Villamar, Trixie Trenuela, Marilouy Amaro and Edmylyn Gruta were illegally detained by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for participating in an online protest at their homes which called for free mass testing, socio-economic aid, and the repeal of the anti-terror law.
Before Duterte’s SONA, community leader Rose Fortaleza was arrested for stashing Pinoy Weekly newspapers which the government considered illegal documents. The timing of Fortaleza’s arrest right before the President’s SONA reeks of malice to intimidate Pandi residents and Kadamay members who intended to join the SONA protest.
The attacks on press freedom under the Duterte regime persist. Pinoy Weekly, an independent news outfit critical of the government has been tagged by the PNP as subversive. A few months ago, the country’s largest broadcast network has been denied its franchise renewal out of Duterte’s spite.
The recent wave of attacks in Pandi are part of the government’s efforts to suppress dissent. Duterte and his cronies have railroaded the Anti-Terror Law and are now working on charter change and reinstating the capital punishment of lethal injection while neglecting the health crisis.
The ILPS Philippines calls on the Filipino people to steadfastly resist Duterte’s de facto martial law, to tirelessly educate and mobilize against the oppression of the marginalized and the toiling masses.
The ILPS Philippines seeks the support of the international community to clamor for the release of the Pandi 4 and to condemn Duterte’s tyranny!
Release Pandi 4!
Resist State Terror!
Down with imperialism!