Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA) – Negros, the basic organization of women for the advancement of the revolutionary movement, condemns in the strongest terms the illegal arrests of 57 activists, on October 31 to November 1, after combined forces of the CIDG, SWAT ad AFP simultaneously raided the offices of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), Gabriela, Bayan Muna and the residence of the Bito-on couple. Twelve minors, 21 Ceres employees, 13 youth and 11 mass leaders, including two activists from the NFSW-Escalante Office, were unjustly taken into custody.
Fascist elements of the state failed to pressure the fiscal into keeping the activists locked up. The trumped-up charges were clearly baseless resulting to the release of 32 activists. At the moment, under the fascist-terrorist Duterte regime, nine mass leaders along with other 46 activists remain detained by the AFP/PNP persecuted on the basis of planted evidences and fabricated cases.
The rottenness of the state is further demonstrated in its persistent hounding of the activists particularly the youth. Up to now, according to reports, the police, military and even local government officials continue to harass youth activists. There are widespread and worsening violations of democratic rights of the Filipino people. Not only activists and progressive organizations are openly attacked but also peasants, workers, urban poor, youth and students, women and other oppressed and exploited sectors who are most affected by the prevailing social crisis.
The youth, including their parents, have long called for free education but government responded with commercialized education. The implementation of the K to 12 program proved to be an additional burden to parents. This program is a government scheme to export a younger generation of labor force, an additional case of child labor, human trafficking and contractualization especially in the ranks of youth and women. The women have it worse wherein there is lack of work opportunities, discrimination through low wages, a macho-fascist standpoint championed by Duterte and cheap labor in other countries.
In the Negros countryside, landlessness and poor living conditions remain due to rampant land grabbing by landlords through the hacienda system, land conversion and corporative schemes. There is also unfair wages for women farm workers, labor exploitation, high interests in usury and unjust land rent.
Owing to their participation in progressive organizations, women and youth realized that their voice and strength form part of the fight for democratic rights. Progressive organizations launch legitimate campaigns but these fall on the deaf ears of the reactionary government servile to the ruling class of big bourgeois compradors and landlords. Instead, these are answered with grave harassments and intimidation of the struggling people.
The AFP/PNP running dogs and other armed state machineries use evil tactics exactly because they fear the broadening force of the mass struggles. They are Duterte’s minions eagerly obeying the command of their master. Despite existing to serve and protect the people, they are the main instrument of terror. The service they boast of means planting of fake evidences and their protection are illegal arrests of innocent civilians especially of the youth.
We in MAKIBAKA, as women and mothers who struggle for the future of the youth, who suffer and shoulder the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, and an oppressed and exploited sector, unite with the call to carry forward the rights of victims of the butcher Duterte regime’s intimidation and harassments. To the police and military, stop harassing the youth; stop the illegal arrests of progressive organizations and the attacks on activists.
Women will not be terrorized instead the voices of women and youth with the broad masses will resonate against anti-people policies and programs implemented by the reactionary government. The harassments and intimidation we experience only dares us to heighten the level of struggle.
Now it is clear that the aspiration of women and youth cannot be achieved under Duterte’s reign. To say “revolution is the solution” is further justified. While the economic crisis and rule of fascism worsens, the determination of the Filipino people to eradicate the exploitative system grows stronger. ###
Note: As of posting (November 23, 2019), the AFP/PNP recently filed a motion for reconsideration of the case against the 32 activists released earlier. Meanwhile, the youth activists continue to be harassed in their homes and red-tagged by the AFP/PNP. The struggle of the #Negros57 continues!