September 21, 2014

RESIST AND DEFY STATE TYRANNY AND FASCISM

We commemorate Martial Law declaration today by remembering the sacrifices of those who defied the dark period in our history. They taught us that it is the rightful and just obligation of the nation’s children to collectively rage against, resist and defy State tyranny and fascism, in the pursuit of a society built on justice, peace, and freedom.

Martial Law is upon us. It is not declared like it was 42 years ago by then Dictator Ferdinand Marcos.  It is upon us with Benigno Simeon Aquino Jr.’s Oplan Bayanihan that continues to unleash State fascism and terror.

We commemorate Martial Law Declaration today as we fully condemn and seek justice for the atrocities – grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations, committed this September in Abra by the 41st Infantry Battalion under 5th Infantry Division and the Northern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and under the command responsibility of Commander-in-Chief Benigno Simeon Aquino Jr.

We hold them fully accountable for the extrajudicial killing of Engineer Fidela Salvador, 50 years old, and a mother of three children – a consultant of the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services Inc. (CorDisRDS) and the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC).  She was on a monitoring visit for various socio-economic projects implemented by CorDiSRDS  and CDPCin Lacub, Abra when she was killed by the AFP in their operations this September.  The autopsy report conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation states that she suffered from 9 gunshot wounds, multiple contusions and lacerations and a head injury caused by a blunt object.

We hold the 41st IB fully accountable for endangering the civilians of Lacub in their combat operations, coercing 24 civilians to be human shields, the use of Nicasio Asbucan as civilian guide in military operations and the extrajudicial killing of Lacub resident, Noel Viste.

The extrajudicial killings of Salvador and Viste make the 41st IB accountable for five of six extrajudicial killings perpetrated this year alone in the Cordillera region. They are accountable for the massacre of Ama Licuben, Eddie and Fermin Ligiw in Baay Licuan, Abra last March.

Their notoriety and bloody record are more than enough reasons for them to be pulled out from Abra and the Cordillera and for them to be brought to the bar of justice, punished to the full extent of the law and not rewarded medals as the Philippine government did.

We commemorate Martial Law with the call for the urgent resumption of the peace talks and for previous agreements to be fully respected especially the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.  We hold the State to their obligations to this, which the AFP violated in their combat operations where 7 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in Abra.  The state of the bodies of civilians and the members of the NPA killed by the AFP, as observed during the retrieval, bore signs and strong indications of probable torture and desecration of remains.  There is strong probability as well that rules of engagement were violated.  There could have been excessive use of force.   Even if the members of the NPA had no more capacity to fight back, they were still slain or no quarter was given during the conduct of the AFP military operations.  These are grave international humanitarian law violations.  The 41st IB and the operating troops of the 5th Infantry Division of the AFP and the Northern Luzon Command in Abra have to be made accountable for these.

The roots of this civil war have to be addressed now as these have not changed since the Martial Law declaration 42 years ago.  Social injustice, repression and the plunder of the nation’s resources brought about by imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism remain.

For those of us who have suffered through the dictatorship and who remember this dark period clearly, we remember that repression was faced with organized resistance, fear was met with courage, and human dignity was reclaimed even in the darkest and most difficult times. Peace can only be built based on social justice.

We commemorate Martial Law today and urge the people to rise up and continue to defy State tyranny and repression.

For reference:

Brenda Dacpano

Secretary General

SELDA –NL

Mobile number: 09203688284

Audrey Beltran

Deputy Secretary General

CHRA

Mobile number:  09189199007

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