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On International Human Rights Day, it is no longer enough to protest

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On International Human Rights Day, it is no longer enough to protest
Thousands of rights defenders and advocates march in Mendiola to commemorate human rights day as the Philippine government continues its attacks on peoples' organisations and individuals who fight for the justice, freedom, and democracy of the Filipino people.

Bayani Obrero | Spokesperson | NDF-Negros Island | National Democratic Front of the Philippines December 10, 2022

This year’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day is highly relevant in Negros Island where the human rights situation has worsened from the US-Duterte regime to the current state terrorism of the US-Marcos II regime. Negros is a social laboratory for campaigns of suppression of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police such as Oplan Sauron 1 and 2.

The whole island, along with Samar and Bicol provinces, was placed by Rodrigo Duterte under de facto martial law since the imposition of Memorandum Order 32 on November 2018. The NTF-ELCAC, on the other hand, was intended to place all government agencies and the private sector under control of the AFP in the guise of eliminating the CPP and the armed revolution. Thus, rationalizing the necessity of state terrorism in the name of anti-terrorism.

NDF-Negros has monitored almost 150 cases of human rights violations on the island from January to November 2022. There were close to 19,000 victims and more than 100 affected communities. Most are victims of massive militarization and forced evacuation, of threats, harassments or intimidation, of illegal search and seizure, and of illegal arrest or detention. There were also notable number of incidents of extrajudicial killings mostly justified as fake encounters, physical assault and injuries, forced surrender, and artillery bombing. The increasing cases of attacks against children is also very alarming.

State terrorism is mainly aimed towards peasants and indigenous people, activists, and human rights advocates. These cases of human rights violations were perpetrated by state forces and their paramilitary against Negrosanons opposing rampant land monopoly, exploitative and oppressive conditions in the sugarcane haciendas, destruction of agricultural lands and the environment, and threats to indigenous people’s ancestral domain. Meanwhile, revolutionaries are murdered upon capture in violation of international humanitarian law and protocols of war.

State terrorism is a clear manifestation of the rapid decay of the semifeudal and semicolonial ruling system under Marcos Jr and the inability of the ruling class he represents to suppress the growth of the national democratic revolution waged through a protracted people’s war. The socio-economic crisis is weighing down the Filipino people with cheap labor, joblessness, landlessness and skyrocketing prices of basic goods. The Filipino masses will launch anti-imperialist and democratic mass struggles but this will be met by the ruling system with more violence and deception unwittingly generating favorable conditions for the Philippine revolution.

Marcos Jr’s puppetry to US imperialism cemented further by the visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris, signals an escalation of US intervention and intensification of campaigns of military suppression and psywar against revolutionary forces and people. Even activists and mass organizations in the legal democratic mass movement are in danger of extrajudicial killings, abduction, physical assault and surveillance. The inflow of refurbished and surplus US military hardware also promotes excessive use of bombs and frequent air strikes that puts peasant communities well at risk.

Now, more than ever, there is a need to address the roots of armed conflict which has the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) as its rock foundation. But state forces have recently declared its indifference to social and economic reforms forwarded by the CASER after they brutally murdered Ka Ericson Acosta, a consultant of the NDFP reciprocal working committee on the CASER, on November 30. The US-Marcos II regime is unmistakably not on the path of peace but on the tract of war.

The Negrosanons are outraged with the human rights situation in the country and will surely take part in protest actions today. But, based on the direness of the socio-economic conditions and the puppetry of the Marcos Jr regime to its US imperialist master, it is not enough to protest. Rather, current circumstances call on Negrosanons and the exploited and oppressed sections of the Filipino people to intensify and raise the level of people’s war.###