Terror bill insulting to victims
It is state terrorism that kills activists – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – As killings of activists in the country continues, with the latest in Iloilo province last June 20, the Anakpawis Party-list declared that it is the state or the Duterte government who is acting as terrorist state, using extrajudicial killing as a means to repress dissent across the country, making the enactment of the anti-terrorism or “terror bill” totally insulting and unjustified. The group cited at least 9 incidents from March 15 to June 20 with 14 victims, involving government armed forces as perpetrators or with the victims subjected to systematic red-tagging and harassment. These are from various reports of the Karapatan human rights group, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and news outfit:
- March 15, 2020, Tagbilaran, Bohol, Marlon Maldos, Cultural Activist-Choreographer of Bansiwag;
- March 31, 2020, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, Nora Apique, Municipal Leader of KAMASS-KMP;
- April 19, 2020, Sibalom, Antique, 1 peasant youth killed, 12 missing or Sibalom 13;
- April 30, 2020, Iloilo City, Iloilo, Jory Porquia, Coordinator of Bayan Muna Iloilo;
- May 8, 2020, Bulan, Sorsogon, 5 peasant victims of Sorsogon Massacre;
- May 26, 2020, Catarman, Northern Samar, Allan Aguilando, leader of NSFFA;
- May 28, 2020, Ormoc, Leyte, Carlito Badion, Secretary-General of Kadamay;
- June 18, 2020, Kalayaan, Laguna, Brgy. Chairman and ABC Chairman Froilan Reyes; and
- June 20, 2020, Tubungan, Iloilo, Brgy. Councilor Glen Bunda and SK Chairperson Harold Tablazon, former peasant organizer of FIFA.
“The message on the placard during the June 12 protest in UP campus stating, ‘mga aktibista ang pinapatay, mga aktibista ang pinagbibintangang terorista,’ is so precise on the Duterte regime’s absurdity of pushing for the enactment of the terror bill, when it is the military and police are actually carrying out the systematic killings in the country,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica on the topic of “terrorism,” written by distinguished American historian Philip Jenkins, it is defined as “the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.” He also cited “Establishment terrorism” as one of its type, usually called as “state-sponsored terrorism.”
Moreover, military dictatorships such as in Brazil, Chile and Argentina committed acts of state terrorism. It is engaged in widespread terror against not only the population but also other organs of the government. He added that a persistent element is that of secrecy, to disavow their active complicity in such acts, both to evade international censure and to avoid political and military retribution by those they target.
“The Duterte regime continues to deny involvement in the killings, but does nothing to stop it. It has set up a reign of impunity,” he said.
He also raised the issue on how the perpetrators could carry out these atrocities given that almost all local government units in the country are on varying degrees of lockdown, and with main thoroughfare with checkpoints being manned by the police and military. These killings are on top of the total number of activists and accused drug personalities killed under the regime, while Aguinaldo who was killed on May 26 was the 251st peasant activist victim of extrajudicial killing.
Casilao blamed this rising number of activist victims to Duterte’s implementation of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Katatagan, Memorandum Order 32 for Negros, Samar and Bicol, and the Executive Order 70 or the “whole-of-nation” approach to counter-insurgency.
“The sacrifices of martyr activists killed under this regime screams the reality of state terrorism. It is the ‘whole-of-nation’ attack on activists, combined with the legislative approach of enacting the terror bill. The government, especially its armed forces have no moral integrity to implement this bill, given that even the United Nations has already noted that Duterte’s rhetoric served as ‘permission to kill,’ that caused the ‘near impunity’ climate in the country,” he stressed.
The UN 26-page report, prepared by Michelle Bachelet, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted 8,663 people have been killed since July 2016, 16,355 “homicide cases under investigations,” 73 children were killed including a five-month old.
“There are overwhelming bases for the junking of the terror bill, but only the regime and its fascist allies in the legislative are hell-bent, amid broad opposition from the people. We urge the people to hold Duterte accountable to all atrocities against activists and civilians, once he signs it into law,” he urged. ###