Anakbayan Toronto condemns the recent attacks on peasant and labour leaders in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog during Holy Week.
- On Palm Sunday, Dandy Miguel (a labour rights leader for Kilusang Mayo Uno, a centre for worker’s union) was killed in Calamba, Laguna.
- Yesterday, Joseph Canlas (the national vice-chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) who advocates for the rights of peasants, farmers and rural youth) was arrested in Mexico, Pampanga.
- On the same day, Pol Viuya (the chairperson for BAYAN Gitnang Luzon and Workers Alliance, a labor rights organization) and May Arcilla (paralegal for Karapatan, a human rights organization), were arrested in Bamban, Tarlac. May Arcilla, was arrested for “obstruction of justice,” after she questioned the PNP’s search warrants, but has been released for further investigation.
The raids occurred at their homes and union offices. They were illegally arrested for the possession of firearms and explosives, which were planted evidence (“tanim ebidensya”). This is a common tactic used by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to unlawfully arrest citizens, activists and human rights defenders.
News outlets and community organizations dubbed this week as “Huli (arrest) Week,” since the killing and illegal raids and arrests all occurred on Palm Sunday and Holy Tuesday. These attacks against peasant and labour rights leaders come after the recent “Bloody Sunday” crackdowns that led to 9 deaths and 6 arrests of activists in Southern Tagalog.
The contradiction between these unjust arrests and killing is that Holy Week, or Mahal na Araw, is a significant week for many Filipinos who practice Christianity. Mahal na Araw is a week that calls on the faithful to observe and reflect on the passion of Christ and his resurrection. It is a time reserved for solemnity and atonement. However, under the US-Duterte regime, this week is negligible since they continue to red tag, illegally arrest and kill human rights defenders and activists. It is the US-Duterte regime that acts unjustly and worsens the socioeconomic conditions of the Filipino people especially peasants and workers. As KMP chairperson, Danilo Ramos, rightly states, “si Duterte mismo ang kalbaryo sa magbubukid!” (Duterte himself is the cause of farmers’ suffering).
Metro Manila is yet in another Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) lockdown. As COVID-19 cases now exceed 105,000, the Duterte government has failed to provide basic social services and financial assistance to the Filipino people. Instead, they continue to fund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to viciously and consistently attack those who are demanding the government to respond to the needs of the people and provide the appropriate measures such as free mass testing, free vaccines and supporting frontline workers.
These attacks by the fascist US-Duterte regime sends a clear message that they do not care about the Filipino people and will continue to make them suffer through neglect and militarization.
We urge Filipinos in Canada to echo the calls for justice! We will continue to resist the repressive US-Duterte regime and fight for genuine democracy and liberation in the Philippines!
RELEASE JOSEPH CANLAS AND POL VIUYA!
JUSTICE FOR DANDY MIGUEL!
ACTIVISM IS NOT A CRIME!
STOP THE KILLINGS!
With the continuous attacks in Southern Tagalog, advocates are seeking donations to pay for the funeral services for Dandy Miguel. If you would like to donate, you can e-transfer funds to Migrante Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org). Funds will be sent to Kilusang Mayo Uno, a centre of workers’ unions in the Philippines.