Anakpawis condemns wholesale arrest of activists in Eastern Visayas

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The militant Anakpawis Party-list condemned on Saturday the latest assault on the people’s movement by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, this time, by the wholesale arrest of five activists and an infant in Tacloban City of the Eastern Visayas region.

Those arrested were identified as Marissa Cabaljao, a leader of the People’s Surge group of victims of typhoon Yolanda, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, a community journalist of Eastern Vista, Alexander Abinguna of human rights group Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas, Mira Legion of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Eastern Visayas and Marielle Domequil of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP).

“We condemn to the highest degree the latest attack on democracy and human rights of the people of Eastern Visayas, by the Duterte regime that reeks of totalitarianism, averse of criticism and opposition. We demand their immediate and unconditional release, and we call for a national indignation on this incident,” former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker Ariel Casilao said in a press statement.

Casilao claimed that this was part of the “whole of nation” approach to counter-insurgency as provisioned by Duterte’ Executive Order 70, which also formed the National Task Force to End the Local Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), and his Memorandum Order 32, which is essentially an order to attack legal-democratic organizations and activists in Samar, Negros and Bicol.

He urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the committees on human rights of both chambers of Congress to address this added incident of systematic attack on legal and democratic right to freedom of expression, to organize associations, peaceful assembly and due process.

“Officials in the national and local government should be already contemplating as the Duterte regime has been an antagonist against human rights in the international community, to worse as being a criminal against humanity. They should be upholding the people’s democratic rights as sanctioned by the constitution and not act as mere helpless witnesses of fascist measures victimizing their constituents,” he stressed. /Stacy Ang

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