The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today assailed the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army for widespread witch-hunting since Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32 (MO 32) and Executive Order 70 (EO 70) placed the region under de facto martial law. “The 8th ID has been on a blitz of witch-hunting in high schools and colleges region-wide, through Red-tagging legitimate youth groups and brainwashing students against these, such as recently done in Samar State University,” said Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “The 20th IB has also been witch-hunting, using its Facebook account, as well as another Facebook “fan page” connected with the battalion. A photo of alleged student activists linking them to the New People’s Army is posted on the Facebook page.
“Meanwhile, the ‘fan page’ contains a rant against the vice governor and certain municipal officials as well as the chief of police of Las Navas, Northern Samar, for entertaining a party-list congressman investigating the military’s human rights violations in the town.”
Fr. Salas accused the 20th IB of using Facebook to put the alleged students on “trial by publicity” and imputing guilt by association, in violation of their basic rights and of due process. He also noted that these alleged students could also be set up for summary executions, in light of the rampant extrajudicial killings in the country of political activists that have outraged world opinion. “The fascist battalion violates even the basic individual rights and due process under the reactionary government. We fear that the military is increasingly arrogating upon itself the role of judge, jury and executioner. By spreading photos of alleged students who are Red-tagged, the military is also sending signals to the death squads it is using and that have been systematically killing peasants, workers, students, environmentalists and others whose only crime is social activism.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson also slammed the 8th ID for the militarization and fascization in the region. “The 20th IB’s contemptuous regard for the civilian officials in Las Navas underscore its striving for dominance over the entire government and society. The military does not want any investigation into its human rights violations in Las Navas and elsewhere in the country. By brandishing Duterte’s MO 32 and EO 70, the military enforces de facto martial law in the region and nationwide towards an eventual Duterte dictatorship.”
Fr. Salas called on the youth and the people to reject the military’s witch-hunting and to fight for their democratic rights. “We urge the youth to stand up to the bullying by the military and to struggle for student rights and welfare as well as genuine social change. We urge all freedom-loving people to resist the militarization and fascization of the government and society. Let us form the broadest unity against the fascist, corrupt and pro-imperialist Duterte regime. Let us use all means of struggle to weaken and overthrow the current monster atop the ruling system and fight on until we can achieve national freedom and democracy.”#