By KRISTEL BAPTISTA
BAGUIO CITY – As government crackdown against activists intensifies, a student leader from the University of the Philippines Baguio received another death threat from suspected government agent.
On November 6, Khim Abalos received another threat from an anonymous sender on November 6 at 12:43 pm. He is the former Secretary-General of UP Baguio University Student Council and currently the spokesperson of Youth Act Now Against Tyranny (YANAT) – Baguio-Benguet.
The text message from the number +639350551109 said: “Magandang umaga. 3 aktibista ang mawawala sa inyo simula ngayong araw. Magingat kayo sa ginagawa nyo. Kasama ka sa patutumbahin namin. (Good morning. 3 activists will disappear starting today. Be careful of what you do. You are included in those we are going to kill.)”
“Nakakagalit ang mga ganitong klaseng atake sa mga lider-estudyante na ang hangarin lang naman ay isulong at protektahan ang karapatang pantao ng mamamayan (This kind of attack against student leaders who only wants to advance and protect human rights is enraging),” Abalos said in a statement.
He acknowledged that threats create limitations for him and concerns for his safety. However, he said that “sa kabila ng takot na dala nito, hindi dapat tayo tumigil sa paglaban sa kung anong tingin natin ay tama (despite the fear it brings, we should not stop fighting for what is right).
Before this incident, Abalos received a series of threats through text messages.
Cellphone number 09060567864 sent messages accusing him of recruiting students to become fighters of the New People’s Army and threatened his family on January 31.
On February 26 and 27, he again received a series of text from cellphone number +639060567866 threatening to kill him.
“Isa ka sa ipapapatay nmin Khim Abalos. Wag kang magsusumbong sa mga kasama mo para hindi mapadali ang trabaho naming. Wag mo ksing kalabanin ang gobyerno. Rally pa kayo ng rally wala nman kayong napapala jan. Magingat ka na pati mga ksama mo pareparehas kyo (Your one of those we are going to kill Khim Abalos. Don not tell this to your comrades and make our work easier. Don’t fight the government. You are always joining rallies, but you get nothing in return. You and your colleagues should be careful.),” reads one of the messages. His name was again included along with other Cordillera youth leaders, in a note left at the front door of the Cordilleran Youth Center on April 6. The letter said: “Lahat kayo ay lider studyante o lider ng mga terorista? Magingat na kyo. (Are all of you student leaders or leaders of terrorists? Be careful).”
YANAT Baguio-Benguet condemned the threats against Abalos and expressed solidarity to their beleaguered spokesperson.
“The state is hell-bent on suppressing those who are critical to its administration. It will not cease to gain access to everyone’s minds causing paranoia and anxiety,” the group said.
The youth network noted that “people are being killed each day, offices have been raided,” blaming the incident to the government’s campaign to link progressive groups and individuals to the communist guerillas.
“Abalos is a member of youth organizations promoting student and people welfare and human rights. His active participation in calling out the government’s blatant attack against the people and oppressive policies prompted the threats and put him in danger,” the group added.
The group also pointed out that attacks against progressive students and school organizations will get worst with the institutionalization of red-tagging forums through the Commission on Higher Education Regional Memorandum Order 79. The document endorsed the counter-insurgency campaign inside schools and universities of the 1505th Maneuver Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion in the Cordillera.
Meanwhile, Abalos said that “ang mga atakeng ito ay pagpapakita lamang na takot sila sa kapangyarihang hawak ng mga kabataang nagsusulong ng mga hindi nila kayang maibigay sa mamamayan (these attacks show that they are afraid of the power that the youth holds who are pursuing things that [the government] cannot provide the people),” he said. # nordis.net