Statement: Justice for Belle!

Content Warning: Rape and torture of a minor

Filipino youth in Toronto stand in solidarity with Belle (not her real name) and her family in their fight for justice against elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who kidnapped, tortured, and raped Belle at 15 years old.

One day between July and August 2020, while Belle and her sister were out buying phone credits (“magpa-load”), a white van stopped and abducted Belle. She was kidnapped, interrogated, and tortured by members of the 59th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command to gather intel about supposed rebel activities in their area. Belle was forced to declare that her parents, who are farmers, were members of the New People’s Army (NPA). 

While detained, Belle was repeatedly raped by Leoven Julita, a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in the region. After being released by the 59th IB, Belle was taken to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where she was threatened to keep silent about what the AFP did, if she wanted to keep her family safe.

Even after Belle’s release, she and her family were continuously harassed, threatened, and terrorized by state forces in an effort to keep them silent.

Belle chose to #BreakTheSilence. Today, with the help of GABRIELA women’s organization, several members of the AFP and CAFGU were charged in relation to Belle’s case. This is only the beginning of seeking truth and justice.

As an international chapter of the largest national democratic organization of Filipino youth, Anakbayan Toronto condemns this heinous crime in the strongest terms. What happened to Belle is the latest addition to the long list of brutal crimes perpetrated against the people by members of the military acting with impunity under Rodrigo Duterte’s regime. 

In the same vein, we condemn Sara Duterte’s proposed plans towards mandatory military training for Filipinos. More militarization is not the answer. We recognize the AFP as the macho-fascist institution and imperialist puppet that it is, just like Duterte and his cronies. Like other puppets, the AFP under Duterte applies violence to quell the just fight of the people and control the people through any and all means, including sexual violence against women.

We call for an end to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which funds and enables the terrorism of the AFP in cases such as this.

We encourage those outraged by what happened with Belle to join the the struggle for National Democracy in the Philippines, because violence against women will only end when the entire imperialist-dominated state is transformed. Join Anakbayan! Sumapi na sa Anakbayan!

#JusticeForBelle #DefendFilipinoWomen

#EndVAW #NoToMilitarization


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