Military harassment plagues the North - Karapatan

Press Release | September 23, 2017

 “The military is manifesting its fascist character not only through the filing of trumped-up charges, the bombing of communities and schools, and the killing, arrest, and torture of civilians and leaders of progressive organizations; now it has widened its scope to include the digital space used by activists as a platform for advocacy. The AFP has stayed true to its brand of being the instigator of fake news, complemented by the lies and misinformation by Duterte’s deception mill. It intensifies these attacks by promoting hate-mongering and accusations against organizations to justify violations against them,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the intensifying acts of harassment and intimidation against Luzon-based activists and organizations.  

On August 20, 2017, the 24th IBPA posted online a statement entitled ‘Teroristang Grupo sa Abra, ginagamit ang simbahan para linlangin ang mga taga Boliney, Abra’. The military was referring to a medical mission and mountaineering activity organized by Kabataan Partylist Abra provincial coordinator Shirley Ann Angiwot for Archbishop Sergio Utleg’s social action volunteers. Archbishop Utleg is from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. The military undermined such efforts as tactics by the “enemy,” and even branded Angiwot as a member of the NPA recruiting local youth. The activity was scheduled on August 28-31, 2017, but was cancelled due to the incessant harassment efforts by the 24th IBPA.

Also on August, development workers of the Katinnulong Daguiti Umiti Iti Amianan (KADUAMI) were subjected to trumped-up cases filed by the 71st Reconnaisance Company under the 7th Infantry Division, after the said unit was allegedly ambushed by elements of the NPA. The cases, however, were filed against Sarah Abellon-Alikes and Sherry Mae Soledad, both members of KADUAMI. Abellon-Alikes was also illegally arrested last February 2017 after the military falsely implicated her in arson and robbery charges.

Respectively, on September 13 and 21, 2017, Piya Malayao, an activist who hails from Cordillera and is now a council member of Sandugo alliance of Moro and indigenous peoples, received threatening calls from a man who introduced himself as an intelligence operative of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, while youth leaders and mass organizations were publicly tagged by the 24th IBPA as members and recruiters of the NPA during a forum in Abra State Institute of Science and Technology - Bangued Campus.

Palabay further said that “these attacks are not isolated. As the AFP pillages and threatens the North, it is doing the same atrocities in all regions of the country. It is utilizing all fronts, even social media, to malign, discredit and misinform the public. The AFP and its minions are expert, paid trolls who have been in the business of committing violations and endangering people for so long - all while evading prosecution. Their enabling environment has always been the continuation of counterinsurgency programs who not only allow them to arbitrarily use the label ‘enemy of the State’ to target activists and suppress dissent, but also accords them with the budget and resources to wreck havoc.”

“The political persecution and harassment of activists have reached an all-time high, enabled by the urging of the State’s ruthless and bloodthirsty and treacherous security cluster. The Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan, and its proponents - DND Chief Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Eduardo Ano, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon - have affirmed their role as US lackeys and attack dogs against communities and individuals raising legitimate concerns against the government. As Duterte’s tyrannical tendencies are coming into full view, we enjoin the Filipino people to continue resisting these attacks and ultimately put an end to the series of harassment and killings plaguing the entire country,” Palabay concluded.


Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580