By ANAKBAYAN, ILOCOS HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES, STOP EXPLOITATION
The statement of Lt. Col. Julio Osias, commander of the 81st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army in the Youth Leadership Summit held last week that Candon has been infiltrated by left-leaning organizations is irresponsible, malicious and a mark of a fascist. Although he did not name the organizations, he said that if this will remain, the economic growth of the city will be affected as the peace and order becomes unstable.
The objective of this statement is to connect the progressive organizations and individuals to the armed revolutionary forces so that the 81st IB would have the reason to harass and violently attack the people and groups critical of the government. Osias likewise wants to use this to impose a military dictatorship in the City of Candon just like what is being done in Sta. Cruz, Salcedo and Quirino.
This mindset of Osias and the 81st IB is dangerous for the people and the organizations that Osias had earlier red-tagged.
We are reminded that last June, 16 residents of barangay Bugnay, Candon City were accused by the 7th Civil Military Operations to be members of the New People’s Army. The 7th CMO and the 81st IB are both under the 7th Infantry Division. Those individuals mentioned by the military are leaders and members of Anakbayan and Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation in the said barangay.
Last October, the 81st IB accused leaders and members of Save Quirino Movement of assisting NPA guerillas who attacked them twice in Patungcaleo and Patiacan, Quirino. The red-tagging came straight from the mouth of Major Amado Gutierrez who claimed that SQM and CPA are tentacles of the NPA. He also coerced the people to sign an agreement with the 81st IB to cut off their ties with SQM and stop members from the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) from entering the barangay, and those who will not sign are considered supporters of the NPA.
Moreover, there is no let-up in the surveillance by state agents of the office of Ilocos Human Rights Alliance in Candon City and people who go to the office. From June up to the present, a Grey Innova with plate number AKG 1194 used by the military has passed by the office many times and those on board took pictures.
The acts of Osias and the 81st IB are consistent with what the fascist US-Duterte regime wants: to include as targets individuals and people’s organizations by associating them with the NPA and the revolutionary movement.
The list of human rights violations by the 81st IB is long. Based on the records of IHRA, it has 225 cases of human rights violations in the Ilocos victimizing 840 individuals and about 9,000 families. Most of the victims are leaders, members and allies of people’s organizations like STOP Exploitation, IHRA, Anakbayan and Defend Ilocos. In the past two months, many villagers of Quirino and Salcedo were accused by the 81st IB as supporters of the NPA.
The 81st IB also concocted cases so that 5 women members of non-governmental organizations would be indicted. Two of the accused in relation to two armed encounters in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur are members of Katinnulong Daguiti Umili ti Amianan, Inc., an institution that supports the programs of STOP Exploitation and IHRA.
For sure, the 81st IB is encouraged to lengthen the list of its victims after Duterte’s rants against legal organizations. So that it is right and timely for the local government of Candon City to contradict the baseless, malicious and dangerous statement of Osias. We urged the city officials to conduct an investigation on the ceaseless threat and intimidation by the military on the residents of Barangay Bugnay.
In the face of intensifying fascism, there is no other recourse for the people but to resist. It was already proven by history that an iron fist can be melted by a united people.
Thwart dictatorial rule!
Oust Duterte! # nordis.net