Joint Press Statement ---
September 18, 2008
PROTEST ACTIONS TO MARK THE ANNIVERSARY OF DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW
Human rights and progressive people’s organizations will mark the 36th
year of the declaration of Martial Law with protest actions in Guihulngan
City, Escalante City and Bacolod City.
The deafening cry of “Never Again to Martial Law” will fill the streets to
condemn and protest the economic and political repression and the
militarization of Negros Island.
Participating in protest actions on September 21 will be farmers, farm
workers and toiling masses of Negros who bear the brunt of economic
dislocations and oppressions as well as rampant violations of civil and
political rights brought by the implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya 2
in the island.
In Guihulngan, thousands of upland farmers will walk towards the city
before the protest action on Sunday. The protest actions on May 1 Labor
Day and the June 25 were harassed by soldiers of the 11th IBPA and 79th
IBPA along the way. The soldiers flagged down the vehicles carrying the
protesters and threaten to shoot the farmers.
On Saturday, the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates
(NNAHRA) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) will commemorate the
23rd anniversary of the infamous Escalante Massacre. On this day in 1985,
20 protesters died when elements of the CHDF and Philippine Constabulary
fired upon the peaceful Welgang Bayan of BAYAN in front then Municipal
Hall of Escalante.
Sans the formal declaration of Martial Law by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the
people’s rights and freedom are suppressed. Many peasant and women leaders
are charged, faced the dangers of illegal and arbitrary arrest and
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wields the repressive power of the government for
her selfish interest to monopolize both political and economic power
either through the usurpation of state power by declaring martial law or
the charter change scheme.
In her eight-year reign, she already declared the imposition of State of
National Emergency for the third time, imposes the “no permit no rally”,
ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and even the members of the
press. She made possible the enactment of the Human Security Act (HSA,
Republic Act 9372) that will be use against oppositions and critics.
Since February 2008, we have seen the hallmarks of the martial law regime
in our midst. It is a sad fact and the horrible reality that government
officials and army generals denies.
In Barangay Linantuyan, the Philippine Army ordered all residents to
acquire a cedula and later imposes an ID System. Those who refuse their
orders were subjected to harassments and intimidations and human rights
defenders investigating the abuses were barred from entering. In Barangay
Nabinlod, Santa Catalina, the Philippine Army bombarded the forested areas
of the barangay unmindful if there are farmers living therein. They remind
us of the terrors of Long Range Patrols led by Sgt. Presquito and the Task
Force Kanlaon in Southern Negros.
The incarceration of peasant leaders Emilia and Maricris Quirante and
trumped-up charges against Lourdes and Boy Baloy, Eppie Assitista and
Vimarie Arcilla of KARAPATAN and Felipe Levy Gelle of BAYAN reminds us of
the imprisonment of Fr. Brian Gore, Vicente Dangan and six lay workers in
Much like what Marcos did, the legitimate people’s organizations were
branded as “communist fronts” and “enemies of the state” which effectively
gives license to the military to attack and kill them.
Indeed, there is a social unrest in Negros. It is created by the social
inequality and severe economic crisis reflecting through hunger and
poverty. Landgrabbing by mining and agribusiness companies especially
those involve in biofuels and export crops production will compel the poor
farmers to militantly resist and fight. Protests actions in the streets
are expected to increase as the crisis deepens.
The social and economic social condition that fuels the social unrest in
Negros during the Martial Law period is resurfacing. But instead of
providing reforms and relief to the toiling masses, the government
responded with more repressive measures, more abusive army troops and the
total war campaign. We expect that more human rights violations and worst
cases will be committed.
On the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, we vowed to let our
voices be heard: NEVER AGAIN!
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-NEGROS (BAYAN)
ALLIANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PEOPLE’S RIGHTS (KARAPATAN)
NORTHERN NEGROS ALLIANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES
SEPTEMBER 21 MOVEMENT