“Wala mang declared martial law, pero nandyan naman ang mga gawi ng Marcosian era sa kasalukuyan,” said Anakbayan Far Eastern University chairperson Kyle Atienza on the recent repressive attacks on progressive student leaders and activists, as well as the series of drug-related killings of minors this week.
[There may not be a declared martial law, but there are many acts done in the Marcosian era nowadays.]
Youth, urban poor, and women groups trooped to the Philippine National Police Caloocan Station today to decry the Duterte government’s intensified threats against activists.
Carrying placards condemning this administration’s fascist policies, especially its drug war, representatives from different sectors took turns in addressing the police, some of whom were listening from inside their padlocked gate.
Charles Jimenez, vice-chairperson of the University of the Philippines Manila University Student Council, addressed the police directly.
“Kayong mga kapulisan, gusto niyo ba ng inyong ginagawang kaliwa’t kanang pagpatay? Inaanyayahan namin kayo na itigil na ang pamamaslang sa mamamayan at kabataan,” challenged Jimenez.
[“You, the police force, are you all right with all the killings? We encourage you to stop killing the people and the youth.”]
He pointed out that the police, with the military, are the primary implementers of the extrajudicial killings under the current administration.
Notorious police station
The Caloocan police force has recently been the subject of headlines, first for receiving an award for the Best City Police Station, and then for the whole police force being reassigned following public outrage over the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos and not long after, their involvement in the summary executions of Carl Arnaiz and 14-year old Reynaldo ‘Kulot’ De Guzman .
A recent incident of harassment involving the Caloocan police was relayed by Anakbayan Metro Manila in a statement. The statement read that two policemen in plain clothes visited the home of one of their members in Caloocan who was visited by the police. The police allegedly told the student that they kept a “watch list” of members of activist groups, and showed her a document where they kept track of the places she went to and the activities she was part of. According to Anakbayan, there were also reports that the policemen warned her against staying an active member of Anakbayan, or else she would be “taken down.”
War against the poor
Kadamay Caloocan spokesperson Juliet Ablin raised questions about the bloody war on drugs that has also targeted minors. She aimed the questions directly at the police and the president.
“Bakit madaling kitilin ang buhay nila? Tingnan mo nga ang iyong kapaligiran at nasasakupan. Hindi makatarungan ang pamamaslang sa mahihirap at ng kabataan. Tao po ang mga pinapatay niyo, hindi hayop. Kung sila man ay sangkot sa droga, bigyan po natin sila ng pagkakataong magbago. Hindi po solusyon ang pagpatay,” Ablin said.
[“Why is it so easy to take away their lives? Look around you and at your constituency. Killing the poor and the youth is not just. You are killing people, not animals. Should they be involved in drug use, let us give them a chance to change. Killing is not the solution.”]
In a new Social Weather Stations survey, six out of 10 Filipinos believe that the drug war only targets the poor.
Strongman rule tactics
Anakbayan Metro Manila chairperson Christian Advincula warned of the worsening repressive tactics of the Duterte government as a means to maintain its fascist rule on the people.
“Pagpapakita lamang ito na ang kagustuhan ng kasalukuyang gobyerno na busalan ang bibig ng mga Pilipino para pigilan ang mamamayang Pilipino na lumaban sa kasalukuyang rehimen,” he said.
[“This only shows the willingness of the current government to gag the mouths of the Filipinos to stop them from fighting against the current regime.”]
“Sa kalagitnaan ng pagbubuo ng diktadurya ng Rehimeng US-Duterte, ang lugi rito ay ang karaniwang mamamayang Pilipino. Libu-libo na ang pinapatay ng rehimeng ito,” said Jimenez.
[“In the midst of establishing the US-Duterte dictatorship, those who will suffer the most are the ordinary Filipino people. Thousands have already been killed by this regime.”
Hope amidst threats of martial law
Despite Duterte’s strongman rule and the threat of martial law in the country, protesters at the Caloocan police headquarters maintained their militant view of the people’s movement.
In a statement, Advincula said, “It is only through our collective efforts in asserting for the impunity and fascism to end would the government realize that the people are the legitimate wielders of power. We will continue to struggle until we have held all those accountable, and until we have triumphed in our aim to transform this society into one that is living in peace based on justice.”