Monday, August 24, 2015

Activists condemn 'extrajudicial killings' in region

NAGA CITY—Advocacy group Karapatan Bicol will hold a series of condemnation activities on the recent alleged extrajudicial killings in the region, including the murder of activist and broadcaster Teodoro "Tay Todoy" Escanilla last week.

Slain brodcaster and activist Escanilla (second from right) photographed in a rally organized by Karapatan Sorsogon
Among the activities slated in this city are the filing of a position paper at the City Hall, torch parade, program and candle lighting.

Similar activities were also held in Albay earlier today.

In a statement furnished to BICOL STANDARD, Regional Coordinator of Kabataan Partlylist John Arvin R. Reola said: "It is with great alarm that the Region five, on the last year of President Benigno S. Aquino’s term, has rocketed its numbers when it comes to human rights violations."

The statement continues: "The scheme of state forces in harassing members of progressive organizations not only from the youth sector but also other sectors should not be taken lightly. Examples that are prevalent are, taking photos of activists without consent during mobilizations, and if they are at public places, Tailing, Verbal and Physical harassments, etc. Last July Arnel Padillo from Kadamay (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap)- Camarines Sur was physically harassed at pili, camarines sur by two military personel while giving out pamphlets about issues here at Bikol, it is clear that state forces without any legitimate reason, would use force to intimidate and harass activists.

In this month alone (August 3, 2015) the Masbate massacre happened, the AFP took 4 lives of innocent men (for-hire motorcycle drivers) which were mistaken as rebels, the AFP with blood on their hands, still continued to assert and argued with the victim’s families and the people of Del Carmen that the 4 were rebels despite the Mountain of evidence that they were merely civilians.
5 days after the massacre, Anak Pawis Arnel Morada is gunned down at Camarines Norte, and on August 19 before midnight, Teodoro E. Escanilla, KARAPATAN spokesperson for Sorsogon dies because of multiple gunshot wounds.

These are not separate cases, the rise of violations are rooted from the increased militarization of communities in the Region, the current socio-economic state and political field that forces people especially the youth to organize and assert their rights, thus being tagged as rebels and insurgents.

These victims are not just numbers, they have families and people who rely on them. They are the manifestation of the incapacity of the government especially in its armed forces and police forces for not being able to remove the culture of impunity.

Unless the problems of Bikol, entry of large scale foreign mining corporations, high percentage contractualization in the workforce, land grabbing, community demolitions, a repressive educational system, and violations of human rights, is tackled and uprooted, the reason will still remain why people choose to fight for their rights, especially their right to life and genuine change.

The youth now urges LGU’s and Gov’t officials to speak out and support their constituents. It is not a time for middle ground decisions that only support the Human Rights Violators. Unless Government Officials and Government Agencies fully decide on who they should serve, and seek for justice for the victims of human rights violations in Bikol and the country, there is no hope for them. The people will demand and seek for justice, it also high time for the youth to fight impunity, and seek for truth and accountability."—BICOLSTANDARD.COM. Pirming enot. Pirming bago.
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