[Explanations in brackets have been added for the benefit of non-Filipino readers.]
The Aquino government continues the fascist legacy of the US-Arroyo regime
Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, Spokesperson National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao) unites with the entire Filipino nation in commemorating International Human Rights Day and remembering all activists and masses — martyrs and heroes of our time — who have fallen victims to the gravest abuses against human rights perpetrated by fascist agents and running dogs of previous and current reactionary regimes. We also join the whole Filipino people and the international community in voicing our strongest condemnation, and demand for justice to all the victims.
As we mark this day with indignation and protests, the NDFP -Mindanao, together with all revolutionary forces, strives to intensify people’s struggle to put an end to social inequity and repression that spawn grave violations against civil and political rights. The people’s struggle for basic human rights also include the right to basic necessities, such as decent food, shelter and clothing; freedom from fear; and the right to enjoy an atmosphere of peace.
Even UN Raporteur on Human Rights Philip Alston said that the reactionary bourgeois state, through its mercenary AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], PNP [Philippine National Police], paramilitary forces and the so-called private armies, is the biggest human rights violator in the Philippines.
In recent past, the most vicious human rights violations were committed in the last nine years under the reign of the US-Arroyo regime [Arroyo was president from 2002-2008-ed]. During this time, the US-Arroyo regime’s suppression campaign OBL 1 (2001-2006) and 2 (2007 –June 2010) gave rise to human rights violations, especially in Mindanao, against millions of people, Moro and non-Moro alike [the Moro people are Muslims who live in Mindanao and nearby islands], in cities and in the countryside, which include indiscriminate killings, arson, torture, rape, enforced disappearances and the massive dislocation of communities.
Extra judicial killings committed with impunity under the US-Arroyo regime came to a staggering more than 1,200 lives of activists, lawyers, media workers and church leaders snuffed out. In Mindanao, 103 individuals in the Southern Mindanao Region have fallen victim to summary executions; 34, in North East Mindanao; 31, in North Central Mindanao; and, 32 in the Western Mindanao Region.
The Moro people, who are currently waging a battle for the recognition of their right to self-determination, have also been targets of extra-judicial killings, where under Arroyo’s reign of terror, 147 Moro died of summary killings in predominantly Moro areas, which brings to a total of 336 individuals felled by summary executions in Mindanao.
The most grievous and grizzly of human rights violations happened right smack in Moro land when the Ampatuan warlords, sired and cultivated by Arroyo, mercilessly massacred 58, including journalists and lawyers. The combined reign of terror in the name of counter-insurgency of both the Estrada and Arroyo regimes have caused unimaginable economic, psychological, and social dislocation of millions of people in Mindanao.
Despite Mr. Aquino’s rhetoric of ending human rights violations, the first 5 months (June — October) alone of his regime took, summary execution style, the lives of 20 individuals, including activists and journalists. Particularly in Mindanao, 3 have already perished through extra-judicial murders in Southern Mindanao and 2 in the North Central Mindanao Region.
And, the extension of OBL [Oplan Bantay Laya, the military’s current counter-insurgency plan] until end of 2010 saw the displacement of numerous peasants from the countryside because of massive military offensive operations, particularly in the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, and in certain Moro areas. Worse, it failed to hold these criminals behind bars!
We have to be aware that these human rights violations have always been an inseparable component of counter-insurgency suppression campaigns, which have elicited massive local and international public outcry, rage, and mounting protests in cities and urban centers across the country and the world. Alarmingly, all indications tend to show that the US-Aquino regime carries the same contemptuous attitude and policies of the previous regimes as regards human rights.
Now that the revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of the Philippines is unstoppably marching forward in spite of the brutal suppression campaign of all previous regimes, we can expect that human rights violations would even exacerbate, especially so that the new suppression campaign hatched by the US-Aquino regime is patterned after the counter-insurgency (COIN) guide of its US imperialist master.
The AFP, the proven biggest human rights violator in the country, has ironically presented themselves as the biggest human rights advocate in the guise of the Community Organizers for Peace and Development (COPD) rehashed from the dreaded special operation teams (SOT).
Human rights violations have been inflicted against the people for the protection of the selfish economic interests of the ruling class and their imperialist masters, as seen in the violent suppression of the peasant struggle for genuine land reform, of workers’ rights to just wages and to form unions, of students’ right to education, of the Moros’ and Lumads’ [the indigenous people of Mindanao] right to self-determination, and of the entire nation against US imperialist intervention.
The worst manifestation of this was the Mendiola [the area in front of the presidential palace in Manila] and the Hacienda Luisita massacres, where the peasants’ aspiration for land ended brutally in the name of the Cojuanco-Aquino clan to which the “icon of democracy,” Cory Aquino, and Noynoy belongs. Recently, we witnessed the violent dispersal of protesting kuliglig drivers [see picture] as well as of students in Manila. In Mindanao, the suppression of workers’ basic rights continue in Filipinas Oil Palm in Agusan del Sur, DoleFil in South Cotabato, and in other local enterprises.
The recent breakthrough with regard to the formal resumption of talks between the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] and the NDFP gives the people something to look forward to, hoping that the GRP would honor previously mutually-signed agreements, and take positive gestures, such as releasing all political detainees and prosecuting immediately under its judicial system human rights violators with cases lodged in the GRP-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee.
The NDFP-Mindanao enjoins the people to unite in exposing and opposing the current regime’s fascism, which breeds and inflicts the most vile human rights violation against the populace. The people must demand and fight for justice for the victims of human rights violations, and press the US-Aquino regime to honor and implement the human rights provisions stipulated in the CARHR-IHL. [One of the provisions agreed upon by the National Democratic Front and the Philippine Goverment in previous negotiations.]
Genuine justice can only be attained when the three basic problems of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism are crushed, and the people’s democratic revolution is victorious!
Justice for the victims of the Mendiola massacre and Hacienda Luisita Massacre!
Justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre! [where 58 people were murdered by a Mindanao warlord clan backed up by the government]
Justice for all victims of extra-judicial killings!
Justice for all victims of social injustice!
Onward with the people’s struggle for national freedom and democracy!