Stop the attacks in Bicol!
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today joins the just demand of various organizations for the immediate and unconditional release of activist-leaders Jenelyn Nagrampa of Gabriela Bicolana and Pastor Dan San Andres of Karapatan-Bicol. The two were arrested on separate incidents in Camarines Sur this week, days after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the new Anti-Terrorism Law.
Nagrampa and San Andres were both charged with double murder cases as they were unjustly implicated in an alleged ambush carried out by the New People’s Army (NPA) that killed two Philippine Army soldiers in Ragay Camarines Sur last May 2018.
The activists previously belied the accusations and maintained their innocence and non-participation in the alleged ambush. At the date and time of the alleged ambush, Nagrampa was campaigning for the barangay elections in Barangay San Isidro in Nabua town while San Andres was officiating a mass in a UCCP parish in Sipocot, Camarines Sur. Both filed their respective counter-affidavits during the preliminary investigation on the double murder complaint last December 2019.
President Duterte, in his previous speeches, have tagged the NPA as ‘terrorist’ even if the United Nations has not included the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, NPA, among designated international terrorist organizations.
“These latest arrests of activists will add to the escalating cases of state-sponsored killings and human rights violations in Bicol region where Memorandum Order 32 is in effect. Several farmers were killed and even massacred by state forces under the presumption they have links to the NPA,” says Danilo Ramos as he noted the May 8 massacre of farmers Jeric Vuno, Jerry Palanca, Robert Villafuerte, Raymundo Tañada, and Jaime Tañada, residents of Dolos village in Bulan, Sorsogon province by the 31st IBPA, 9th Special Action Force Battalion, Provincial Mobile Force Company of PNP Sorsogon and intelligence units.
KMP also noted that on June 24, farmers Elder Moina and Jose Arthur Clemente were successively killed in separate incidents by riding-in-tandem assassins in San Isidro, Jovellar, Albay. Both were active members of local peasant group Organisasyon ng Magsasaka sa Albay and were local village officials. According to Karapatan-Bicol’s documentation, more than 90 individuals were killed in the region under the Duterte administration, with most victims from Masbate and Sorsogon.
The peasant organization also revealed the constant harassment and surveillance against elderly Bicolano peasant leader Bert Autor of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol, KMP’s chapter in the region. Several men in plainclothes, believed to be intelligence operatives, are constantly visiting the 69-year old peasant leader who is recovering from a stomach surgery.
“With the new Anti-Terrorism Law, mere association to the CPP and NPA by false and red-tagging can lead to arrests and summary execution. It also doesn’t help at all that the NTF-ELCAC has been engaged in a full-on attack and vilification campaign against progressive people’s organizations,” Ramos said.
KMP demands the junking of Memorandum Order No. 32, Executive Order No. 70 and the new Terror Law. ###