Manila — On the 43rd year since President Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, progressive groups from different sectors joined families of human rights violations victims to register the unresolved and intensifying repression and terrorism carried on from the Marcos to the present Aquino administration.
As of August 2015, human rights organization, Karapatan, has tallied a number of 282 victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Under the Aquino administration, the Lumad, or the indigenous peoples in Mindanao ranks second to the peasant sector in experiencing soaring number of human rights violations.
“Amid numerous human rights violations, Aquino denied there is a policy of killings under his watch. His government also denied the existence of political prisoners. Marcos did the same. We are living testimony of present state terror,” said Fernando Baldomero, Vice-chairperson of Hustisya.
The recent killings of the ALCADEV Executive Director Emerito Samarca, MAPASU leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo heightened the calls for the protection of human rights. Lumad leaders travelled all the way to Manila to give light to the continuing oppression to their communities such as military encampments and harassments in schools, and the existing operations of paramilitary groups.Fanagel denounced the presence of paramilitary groups in Lumad communities where big mining corporations operate. “Patuloy pa rin yung harassment, ‘yung pagkampo ng militar sa mga communities, ‘yung paghapag ng mga gawa-gawang kaso sa mga lider ng mga organisasyon ng mga katutubo, pag-atake at pag-target doon sa mga eskwelahan ng mga katutubo…Paramilitary groups ang ginagawa nilang kasangkapan upang takutin, patayin, at i-harass ang mga katutubong nakikipaglaban,” Kerlan Fanagel, Chairperson of PASAKA, said in an interview.
Groups and individuals condemn the continuing state-sponsored terrorism and call to discontinue military encampments in schools and communities, dismantle of paramilitary groups, and stop extrajudicial killings.
“Ang karanasan natin sa Mindanao ay walang kaibahan. Kung ano ‘yung karanasan ng sambayanang Pilipino noong panahon ng Martial Law, ang karanasan namin sa Mindanao ay parehong-pareho. Ibig sabihin, walang pagbabago. Ibig sabihin, nandoon pa rin ang bangungot ng Martial Law at patuloy pa rin ang pamamaslang sa mga katutubo,” Fanagel added.