ILOILO City – “Fight the addict in Malacanang!” This is the statement of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Panay after another spate of political attacks against people’s organizations and human rights workers last week.

“The people should rise up and face with utmost courage and strength the intensified attacks of Duterte regime and continue to expose and oppose his anti-people policies to further isolate him from the people,” said Bayan Panay in a statement.

Nine progressive members, including a church pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and farmers, were illegally arrested in La Castellana, Himamaylan, and Silay City Negros region last June 26. The Philippine National Police and the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army have arrested the civilians on fabricated and trumped-up charges. Four other farmers were arrested at Manjuyod, Negros Oriental on June 22. A leader of a transport group was also shot dead by riding-in-tandem killers on Friday last week. As of press time, there are over 70 civilians detained on fabricated charges and 67 farmers killed in Negros region since Duterte came to power.

In Cebu City, University of the Philippines professor and Karapatan Central Visayas Vice President Dr. Phoebe Zoe Marie Sanchez received death threats via text messages on June 27.

Records from human rights group Karapatan from July 2016 to March 2019 showed increasing numbers of human rights violations under the Duterte government with 250 activists, 83% or 207 are farmers and 22% or 55 are indigenous peoples, murdered by suspected government agents.

Bayan Panay said that the series of killings and attacks are proof that Duterte failed to address the worsening poverty and have used state-sponsored violence to curtail the growing opposition among poor sectors that once supported him.

Bayan Panay called on more protests and have asked for united and broadest opposition against Duterte’s anti-poor policies.

Bayan is set to lead massive protests in Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Aklan come Duterte’s state of the nation address this month./


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