On the eve of the 69th commemoration of International Human Rights Day, Mindanao-based groups of ‘bakwits’ (evacuees) called for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Kahugpongan sa mga Lumad sa Mindanao (Kalumaran) and Suara Bangsamoro aired the statement in a protest rally in Mendiola as they decried the massive human rights violated perpetrated by the Duterte government’s Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) against the people of Mindanao.
The groups said that since the implementation of martial law in Mindanao, at least 87 cases of extrajudicial killings, 428 cases of trumped-up charges, and forcible evacuation of thousands of Lumad and Moro communities have been reported.
Protesters also expressed their opposition against the AFP and PNP’s proposal to extend martial law in their areas.
State terrorism slammed
Kalumaran and Suara Bangsamoro also blamed the Duterte’s war on terror campaign against Moro communities and the AFP’s Oplan Kapayapaan military operations against farmers and Lumad communities as added factors to the intensifying rights violations in the entire island.
“The mass murder policy of the US-Duterte regime has intensified further after President Duterte signed Proclamation 360 terminating the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army,” says Jerome Succor Aba, president of Suara Bangsamoro.
Aba also believed that the terror tagging against revolutionary forces would give a license to state forces to harass, even slaughter civilian communities and mass activists.
Kalumaran and Suara Bangsamoro also noted that “the 75% of the AFP’s blood-thirsty machinery are now rampaging in Lumad and Moro communities while the PNP and other state agents are actively cooking false charges against mass activists.”
Aba insisted, “Duterte’s promise of an independent foreign policy has remained a rhetoric in the midst of his active promotion and continuation of neoliberal economic policies that continuously plunder natural resources, land-grabbing of ancestral lands and domains by the big mining corporations and plantations.”
He added, “Thousands of hectares of land in Mindanao are being eyed for the expansion of oil palm plantations and other mono-cropping plantations.”
The Mindanao-based organizations were the latest to join other progressive and militant organizations in calling for the ouster of the US-Duterte regime.
They also said they are troubled with the looming dictatorship and tyrannical rule of Duterte.
Aba said, “President Duterte parroted several times to end the long historical injustices against the Moro and Lumad in Mindanao, however, his authoritarian and oppressive policies and actions toward the national minorities speak otherwise.”
The groups pointed out that the Lumad and Moro communities have enough to say that the Duterte regime does not have even an ounce of political will to end injustices.
Aba said, “The Duterte government is even doing more injustice by unleashing a fascist rule and continue the systematic deprivation of national minorities of their life, land and rights for the benefit of the US, its imperialist master and the oligarchs.”
“The Lumad and Moro communities must unite to resist a fascist government! The people must rise up against state tyranny and terrorism,” ended Aba.