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Police brutality victim explains why national minorities are marching in Manila

Piya Macliing Malayao, SANDUGO spokesperson ang Katribu secretary general, speaks in a press conference a day after the brutal police dispersal in front of the United States Embassy last October 19.

Malayao, a third generation activist in her family who fights for national minorities’ self determination, was among at least 50 activists brutally dispersed by the Manila Police District of the Philippine National Police.

In the press conference, the victims said they are set to file criminal and administrative charges against police officers led by deputy MPD commander Marcelino Pedrozo. Read more

Victims of violent dispersal at US embassy demand justice

PROGRESSIVE organizations demanded justice for the victims of the brutal police dispersal of protesting indigenous peoples in front of the United States Embassy in Manila Wednesday morning (October 19).

In a press conference held last October 20 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, the groups called on President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa to take action and punish Manila Police District officers for their violence against the victims.

According to Makabayan vice chairperson Neri Colmenares, Senior Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo and PO3 Franklin Kho as well as other MPD personnel are guilty of violating Batas Pambansa (BP) 880 and of attempted murder.

“BP880 is about illegal assembly.  But there is nothing in it that allows the use of brutal methods. Does a group not having a permit make it alright to violently disperse them?” Colmenares asked.

“That kind of behavior is illegal, especially with the way they manhandled medics, minors and (members of the) media. The Manila police are clearly guilty of violating the same law they are trying to use against the rallyists,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares added, “BP880 states that you cannot file a case against a participant of a rally. You can do so against a leader, but not a simple participant like how they tried with this protest.”

“The fact that there was premeditation, superior strength and even treachery in play also means we can also charge them with attempted murder – at the very least,” Colmenares said.

The Makabayan bloc has filed a resolution to investigate the incident and condemning the police force for the violence. Progressive groups also call for accountability and firing of the policemen involved.

Police brutality

The protest was about to conclude when Pedrozo ordered the dispersal of the rally and the arrest of its participants, in violation of the agreement between the police and the ralyists before his arrival.

The police then fired teargas and began clubbing the demonstrators.

A police mobile unit, driven by Kho, ran over rallyists several times.

Police officers then proceeded to violently pursue, harass and arrest demonstrators, medics, media personnel and even bystanders filming the events.

At least 50 were injured, 18 of whom needed hospitalization.  At least 20 were arrested, including five medics, two minors and one media practitioner.

The arrested were released after at least three hours at MPD Precinct 5 along United Nations Avenue.

PNP’s lies

The PNP claimed that the violence was unintended, the protesters did not have a permit and who incited the violence.

PO3 Kho, for his part, said he did not intentionally run over the protesters whom he accused of trying to steal the police vehicle.

Their victims, however, presented video footage from various media outfits which they said showed Kho’s criminal intent to maim or kill as well as of Pedrozo ordering the dispersal and arrests for the MPD to save face with the US embassy.

According to Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes, there was no provocation from their side.

“We were down to our final speaker, but Pedrozo showed up and said that the police had shamed the US embassy, that the rally must be dispersed and that there must be arrests,” Reyes said.

“There were even policemen who hesitated to act because they understood that violence was senseless as the protest was peaceful and ending anyway. They were not provoked. They attacked first under Pedrozo’s orders,” Reyes said.

Reyes said they believe there was no need for a permit to protest.

“President Duterte has been fine with it all this time. Besides, we had been protesting for over an hour by the time they began their assault,” he said.

Colmenares added that the videos showed that the police violence was premeditated.

“In the videos, Pedrozo clearly ordered to disperse the rally, with or without provocation, because they would apparently shame themselves with the US embassy by allowing the rally to go for so long,” he said.

“Is Pedrozo ashamed, then, of President Duterte for condemning the US, telling Obama to go to hell, pursuing a strong foreign independent foreign policy?” Colmenares asked.

Why protest?

Majority of the protesters were indigenous peoples and Moro participants of the ongoing Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2016 who travelled to Manila to demand for respect of their right to self-determination over their ancestral domains and culture.

They were joined by progressive organizations led by Bayan as they also called for the immediate pullout of US military forces and corporate interests from their lands, as well as to express support for president Rodrigo Duterte’s call for an independent foreign policy.

“We have experienced the imperialism of the US, the massacres of our people and those who fight for us. This is why we were at the US embassy yesterday,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson for the newly-formed indigenous peoples alliance Sandugo, said.

“We have been dishonored and brought to poverty by the control and meddling of the US in our areas,” Malayao, who was among those run over by Kho, added.

“We already face brutality and violence in our communities. Why must we be confronted with violence in the city as well, when we were only asserting our rights?” she lamented. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

Peoples’ lawyers to file attempted murder charges vs MPD

National Union of People’s Lawyer chairperson Neri Colmenares explains why they intend to file attempted murder charges against Manila Police District officers who violently dispersed protesting indigenous peoples in front of the United States embassy in Manila last October 19.

In a press conference at the University of the Philippines a day after the incident, Colmenares explained there the police actions were unwarranted and with criminal intent. Read more

AFP soldiers hit Pambansang Lakbayan 2016 with water cannons

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troopers blasted indigenous peoples’ (IP) activists with water cannons at a rally at Camp Aguinaldo last Tuesday, October 18.

After holding a noise barrage against ongoing atrocities by AFP soldiers in their communities nationwide, several IP protesters were targeted with water cannons by camp guards.

The IPs are participants of Manilakbayan 2016 who traveled to Manila from various points across the country to demand justice for the killings and harassment they suffer from AFP elements. (Video and featured image by Divine C. Miranda)

Read more

National minorities meet in Manila for Lakbayan 2016

Thousands of indigenous peoples and national minorities from all over the country meet on October 13 at Mendiola, Manila to assert their right to self-determination and just peace.

Lakbayan 2016 is the fifth nationwide march to Manila is held annually to campaign against militarization, development aggression, and U.S. imperialist dominance in the Philippines. Read more

Lakbayan 2016 challenge Duterte to end militarization and US intervention

CONVENORS of the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya (Lakbayan) challenged president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to continue to take action against militarization and United States intervention at a press conference at University of the Philippines-Diliman last October 10. Read more

Katribu calls for scrapping of Mining Act of 1995

In commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and with thousands of signatures in hand, members of the Katribu Party and Scrap the Mining Act Network trooped to the House of the Representatives to call for the immediate scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995.

The groups said 20 years of foreign plunder, human rights violations and ancestral land-grabbing are enough. They demand that Congress swiftly repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and enact the Peoples Mining Bill as it displaces and kill IPs opposed to the plunder of their ancestral domain.

This video shows the picket protest outside the Philippine House of Representatives while more of their members have submitted their petitions inside the House of Representatives.

KATRIBU to Speaker Belmonte: Kick Rep. Catamco out as IP committee head

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(Photos from KAMP)

Quezon City – Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), together with the Sulong Katribu Partylist, Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples Network and Save Our Schools Network, held a picket in front of the North Gate of the Congress and filed a letter for Catamco’s dismissal at the House of Representatives. The enraged protesters throw packs of mud at the image of Catamco with a backdrop of caricatures of the military and Oplan Bayanihan.

KATRIBU, the Philippines’ largest indigenous people’s alliance, called for the immediate dismissal of Rep. Nancy Catamco as Chairperson of the House Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples for instigating an unwanted rescue of Manobo evacuees in Davao City, leaving 18 people hurt, disrupted a class being, and left the Manobo children traumatized.

“Catamco has proven that she does not genuinely represent us. On the contrary, she is now an emissary of death for the Manobo evacuees. She used the local police and ALAMARA, a vicious paramilitary group, to instigate an unwanted rescue. She is also forcing them to return to their militarized homes, which they have escaped from due to intensified harassment by the military,” said Piya Malayao, Secretary General of KATRIBU.

Catamco was also caught insulting the evacuees, calling them “stinky”, and disrespecting a Lumad leader during a dialogue. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also slammed Catamco for her incompetence and disregard for local government protocol when she ordered the police to act with her.

“Catamco is not fit to head an important committee in Congress. Catamco stands with the military and acts as their spokesperson. Catamco will endanger not only the Manobo evacuees in Davao but also all IP groups in the Philippines. She is a loose cannon and a vigilante group coddler. It is unbecoming for a representative to engage in gangsterism and harassment, and this will not be the last if she is to be tolerated. We therefore urge House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to immediately remove Rep. Catamco as the chairperson of the Committee on Indigenous Peoples. Also, we call on Speaker Belmonte to order the House Ethics Committee to immediately investigate the conduct of Catamco as a legislator,” explained Malayao.

KATRIBU also called for the investigation of Catamco’s instigation, her warning to pull out the children and women from the camp during a dialogue with the evacuees. “Her words gave the go signal to the attack and raid of the sanctuary in UCCP Haran, and even undermined Mayor Duterte’s order not to conduct any action without his presence in the City,” Malayao added. #