Activism is Not A Crime: Defend Southern Tagalog! Condemn the attacks on activists and human rights defenders!

Anakbayan Canada, its chapters and its affiliate organizations, strongly condemns the numerous arrests, raids and killings of human rights activists and unionists in Southern Tagalog/Luzon. We join our kababayan in the Philippines to demand an end to the attacks and to defend the just struggle for people’s rights.

On March 7, 2021, state forces illegally conducted a series of raids in Cavite, Batangas, Laguna and Rizal resulting in 9 deaths and 6 arrests. These attacks came after President Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to kill left-leaning individuals in all encounters through Oplan Tokhang style. This tactic includes violently raiding houses, planting evidence and illegally arresting individuals. Southern Tagalog is under the jurisdiction of General Antonio Parlade Jr. who is among the vicious red-taggers of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In Batangas, Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista from Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS-KA) were both arrested and were later found dead. Their 10-year-old son, Raymart Evangelista was able to escape and remains missing. Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Asuncion of BAYAN Cavite was shot during a raid at the Workers’ Assistance Centre, a labour institution in Cavite. Among those arrested were Esteban ‘Steve’ Mendoza from Olalia-Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Nimfa Lanzanas, a 61 year old paralegal of Karapatan and Kapatid-Families and Friends of Political Prisoners, Elizabeth ‘Mags’ Camoral, current spokesperson of BAYAN-Laguna, Eugene Eugenio from COURAGE-Rizal and Moises and Dodong who are two local farmers in Rizal.

This is clearly a calculated attack against activists, unionists, and other progressive organizations who are critical of the Philippine government that has intensified since the formation of the NTF-ELCAC and the passing of the Anti-Terror Law. They are using the same tactics of red-tagging to violently suppress anyone who opposes the US-Duterte regime’s pro-imperialist and anti-people policies.

Anakbayan Canada calls on all Filipinos and our allies to demand the immediate release of the arrested activists and individuals as well as protection for the survivors and witnesses. We call on the Executive Judges to stop issuing defective search warrants that lead to these killings and arrests of civilians. We continue the demand to junk the Anti-Terror Law and to defund the NTF-ELCAC as we strive towards ousting the US-Duterte regime. 


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