Press Release | ‘Occupy Mendiola’ dispersal on human rights week exposes Aquino’s fascism
Press Release | December 7, 2011
Reference: Glen Malabanan | Secretary General, Karapatan-ST
Human rights advocates in Southern Tagalog (ST) headed by Karapatan-ST expressed condemnation to yesterday’s brutal dispersal by police forces of mostly youth protesters geared for “Occupy Mendiola”.
“It is ironic for such a clear-cut violation of human rights to happen exactly during the Human Rights week and days before our commemoration of United Nation’s International Declaration of Human Rights,” Glen Malabanan, deputy secretary general of Karapatan-ST stressed. She said that this only shows how the Aquino government blatantly disrespects the people’s just demands and is no different from the previous Arroyo administration’s use of state fascism as the only answer to the people’s grievances.
Karapatan-ST together with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) –ST and other militant groups in the region are currently in their 3rd day of the Human Rights Cultural Caravan. The caravan has arrived two days ago in the provinces of Quezon, Batangas and Cavite and will now proceed to Laguna and Rizal. On Dec. 9, the caravan is to set-foot and culminate in Mendiola to expose the human rights violations of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency program.
“We are doing our part here to educate and uplift the political consciousness of the people with regards to upholding their basic human rights and yet we see that Aquino and his state forces themselves are ignorant to such rights,” Malabanan added.
Meanwhile, Leo “XL” Fuentes, secretary general of BAYAN-ST expressed similar sentiments to what had happened in Morayta yesterday, saying that the 1987 Philippine Constitution clearly states that the people have the right to air their grievances to the government whenever they deem that it is no longer able to address societal concerns.
“What should Aquino expect from the people when just less than 2 years into office, we have already seen the biggest cuts in budget for social services – such as education and health – in Philippine history?” he asked.
Fuentes narrated the various human rights violations in Southern Tagalog on different sectors which includes land-grabbing and land-use conversion in rural areas; union-busting, low wages and contractualization among workers. The region has also experienced 13 political killings under the Aquino regime which includes Celito Baccay, union leader of the Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Kenneth Reyes, baranggay captain in Lemery and Chairperson of BAYAN-Batangas, Caloy Rodriguez, union leader of Calamba Water District and even a youth-leader, Lester Barrientos from the Southern Tagalog Cultural Network.
“If Aquino will continue with this character of violence to those who are yearning for genuine change, it won’t be long before the people will wish him behind bars –just like Arroyo- for perpetuating this culture of impunity,” Fuentes stressed.
Simultaneous with the cultural caravan is the 5th day of the hunger strike of political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan and Batangas City Provincial Jail. The hunger strike aims to press Aquino’s government to drop all fabricated charges and free the all political prisoners in the country 51 of which are from the Southern Tagalog region.