We must hold Duterte accountable for the slaughter of legal activists on March 7th, tagged as “Bloody Sunday”.
By using the narrative of “communist fronts,” the Duterte fascist regime unleashed its sword of state terrorism against members of legal people’s organizations, leaving nine dead on the spot, and six others behind bars. Authorities claimed that Emmanuel Asuncion and the other eight killed on that bloody Sunday were armed with pistols and that the joint operating troops acted on principles of “self-preservation,” thus dragging Asuncion and Dumagats Puroy and Pulong from their quiet sleep to be shot on the head, and barging in the hut of couple Chai and Ariel to later on massacre them in front of their 10-year old child’s naked eyes.
There is overwhelming evidence that the victims were targeted because of their participation in the people’s struggle for their rights and freedoms. They are community organizers, union leaders and human rights defenders. They are unarmed — not even with a kitchen knife — the victims made use of only one weapon, and that is the spirit of selfless service.
Yet, we mourn their death and arrest.
We grieve like the mothers of Isaias Manano, Choy Napoles, Erwin Bacarra and Bong Ternida. We are shocked like the relatives of the Albarillo couple, Blanco family, and Bravo family who survived their massacres. We weep like the clients of Atty. Juvy Magsino and like the students of teacher Leima Fortu. They are among other victims of Arroyo regime’s previous anti-insurgency campaign in Mindoro Island, the Oplan Habol Tamaraw led by the butcher General Palparan.
After two decades since then, Mindoreños remain victims of human rights violations. Farmers Rostum Sibulan, Frentis Guttierez are one of the many victims of extra-judicials killings of Duterte regime. On February 23, peasant leader Genalyn “Neneng” Avelino was arrested for rebellion charges. Threat, harassment and intimidation by state forces also plague legal advocates who campaign against foreign large-scale mining, corporate dams and renewable energy projects, fake land reform program and greening program, indigenous people’s rights, and other social issues.
What took place then, and in the dawn of March 7th, and on Oplan Sauron days in Negros, in December 30th’s Tumandok massacre, and with Human Rights Day’s mass arrest in Metro Manila were by far the most desperate attempt of an ailing system tainted with bankruptcy, corruption and treason.
Activists are not the sole victims of state terrorism. It harms every life of anyone who call out landlessness, homelessness, joblessness, state futility in an era of pandemic and all social ills. State terrorism is the enemy of every poor and oppressed. Its perpetrators led by Duterte himself, his generals and cronies belonging to the ruling faction of the ruling class of big landlords and compradors, and their imperialist masters are the enemy of the Filipino people.
State terrorism has only taught the poor and the oppressed a historic lesson: that to rebel is justified. And while his fascist troll army in the academe, mass media and social media led by the National Taskforce to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spew the lies of anti-communist demonization and parrot the same mantra that armed struggle is a thing of the past, Duterte, his fascist generals Lorenzana, Esperon and Año and lapdog Parlade unwittingly renew every now and then the spirit of revolution. A life taken by the military or the police is one too many. Then therefore, the death of nine legal activists that dawn of March 7th means a flood of new recruits for the New People’s Army. We can be as unsurprised, for we were left with no other option but to fight back state terrorism not by words or placards alone, but by an armed revolution.
But this would only happen if we earnestly hold dear the lives of those who selflessly served to be our defenders. We have come again to such a nodal point when all of you, peace-loving Mindoreños and the entire Filipino people, are called to be Red fighters and live up to the heritage of Mangyan-Buhid Madaay and his band of anti-Spanish colonizers; and of General Valeriano Gasic of Naujan and his anti-American imperialist Katipunan regiment.
We call on especially the youth and students who shall consecrate their dreams and aspirations for our motherland. No amount of state terrorism can overcome your idealism and enthusiasm.
Our brothers and sisters who are true to selfless service but remain within the guards of legal means can also contribute as much. We call on all farmers, farm workers, fisher folk, workers, vendors, drivers, scientists, lawyers, teachers, students, religious and entrepreneurs to march alongside the relatives and friends of victims of human rights violations in the quest for justice. You have in your minds and hearts immense ways to expose and oppose state terrorism. A myriad of avenues and platforms awaits you to tell and retell tirelessly the faces of poverty and oppression and the narrative of the people’s struggle for freedom, democracy justice and prosperity.
For we never stop striving for a better life, this is the time more than ever to overthrow the Duterte regime in a just war it deserve.
JUSTICE FOR SOUTHERN TAGALOG 9!
TO REBEL IS JUSTIFIED!
JOIN THE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY!
LONG LIVE THE NEW DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION!