Anakpawis condemns “exhibit of state terror” in Laguna on first day of terror law
Manila, Philippines – A day after the arrest of 11 activists protesting the enactment of Republic Act 11479 Anti-Terror Law by elements of the Philippine National Police in Cabuyao City, Laguna, the Anakpawis Party-list condemned and branded it as an early “exhibit of state terror” on the first day after it was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The group called for the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested activists including: Kyle Salgado, Karapatan Southern Tagalog spokesperson, Casey Cruz, Bayan Southern Tagalog spokesperson, Shirley Songalia Gabriela Southern Tagalog spokersperson, Jemme Mia Antonio, Liga ng Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (Liga) spokesperson, Miguel Portea, STARTER-PISTON spokersperson, Helen Catahay of Gabriela, Sweden John Aberde and Renero Maarat of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK KMU), and three minors.
“The Duterte regime is an ironic regime, while its fascist officials sow mass deception that the law will not target activists, illegal arrests of activists were carried out in Laguna, without clear charges against them; and that it does not violate constitutional provisions, retired general Hermogenes Esperon practically admitted that it is meant to silence the people,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
National Security adviser Hermogenes Esperon was quoted on various news reports that “Ngayon kung sino ang nagsasabing ito ay para sa kanila at tahimik naman sila, huwag silang mabahala.“
“Esperon actually testified that the law violates the constitutional provisions for freedom of speech, expression and peaceful assembly, and it was exhibited when activists in Laguna were arrested, worse, without clear charges. Thus, with the law giving government armed forces more power is synonymous to giving a man running amok more deadly weapons,” the former lawmaker slammed.
He added that the Duterte regime failed to convince the people, particularly on their claim of law’s safeguards against abuses when it is notorious in the international community of being averse to respecting human rights, and carried out crimes against humanity such as the sham “war on drugs,” the led to tens of thousands of deaths, counter-insurgency programs generating extrajudicial killings of activists, aerial bombings of peasant communities and other abuses.
“I was even a victim of political persecution amid aiding those affected by the lockdown, and they used the law on mandatory reporting on notifiable diseases,” he cited.
Casilao was arrested on April 19 and detained for three days, when volunteers of Tulong Anakpawis and Oplan Sagip Kanayunan were apprehended in Norzagaray town, Bulacan. They were charged with violating the Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act and inciting to sedition.
“At present, existing laws and even lowly ordinances on lockdown are being used by the Duterte regime against activists and the people, what more with this terror law. The regime has zero credibility on claiming respect for human rights on its futile effort to sanitize the terror law,” he said.
Finally, he urged the people to join the demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Cabuyao 11, and oppose the RA 11479 terror law.
“Duterte is aspiring to realize a climate of eerie silence and fear, clouding the fundamental ills hounding the people such as hunger and poverty. He dreams of oppression and exploitation that is not resisted by the people. His regime is itself the state terrorist,” he ended. ###