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OFWs in Italy condemn ‘inhumane’ dispersal of IPs in Manila

ROME, ITALY- Members of Umangat-Migrante, ICHRP-Rome and the Comitato di Amicizia Italo-Filippino (Italy-Philippine Friendship Association) held a candle light protest in front of the Philippine Embassy last night to condemn the recent dispersals of mass actions in the Philippines.

Calling the dispersals “violent and inhumane,” Luciano Seller of the Comitato di Amicizia Italo-Filippino urged the Philippine government to look into the incident.

“Indigenous people in the Philippines have suffered enough with military occupation in their communities, only to meet more ruthlessness and violence from the Manila police when they are holding a peaceful protest,” Seller said.

Alex Reyes, Secretary General of Umangat-Migrante expressed anger at how the police continue to act as “lapdogs of the US’ while President Duterte himself is calling for an independent foreign policy.

“It is time that the Philippine police learn to protect and serve the Filipino people instead of protecting US interests,” Reyes said. # (Pom Cahilog-Villanueva)

50 injured as police vehicle rams IP protesters

By Abril Layad B. Ayroso / Photos by Reggie Mamangun

AT LEAST 50 were injured when a Manila Police District vehicle rammed indigenous peoples protesters in a violent dispersal at the United States Embassy in Manila this morning.

After being surrounded by protesters, a police vehicle with license plate SAA 5553 and National Capital Region Police Office markings backed up at high speed, apparently intent on hitting the victims.

After several meters, the vehicle accelerated forward and ran over protesters before backing up again, scattering activists trying to escape its rampage.

According to rights group Karapatan, 31 were also arrested, including two Lumad minors, after Superintendent Marcelino DL Pedrozo of the MPD ordered the dispersal.

Organizers of the Pambansang Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2016 said Pedrozo showed up at the rally already enraged and immediately ordered the arrest of the protesters.

Under Pedrozo’s orders, the police began pushing back the protesters that immediately became violent as the police fired tear gas at the retreating activists.

Some protesters who tried escaping through and around Plaza Salamanca across the embassy were violently apprehended, with the police even chasing and clubbing the fleeing protesters’ vehicles.

The violent dispersal is the second in two days after the group was also violently blasted with water cannons at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City yesterday.

Immediate condemnation

The violent dispersal immediately received condemnations from various human rights and indigenous peoples groups.

“We condemn the Manila Police District, and call on President Rodrigo Duterte himself to address this enraging incident, which has even surpassed the water cannon incident yesterday at Camp Aguinaldo,” Jerome Succor Aba, Suara Bangsamoro national spokesperson said.

“Is this how the government treats its national minorities? Is this the answer to our plea to stand up for national sovereignty and protect the interests of national minorities from the claws of Washington?” Aba asked.

Dulping Ogan, secretary-general of Kalumaran, blamed the US for the violent dispersal.

“The US can even order our police to attack our own people just to protect its embassy. This is a clear display of power, and highlights the urgency of our call to pull out US forces from the Philippines, especially in our ancestral lands,” Ogan said.

“Here in Manila, our calls are met with water cannons, and now teargas and brute force. In our ancestral communities, the attacks are far worse: we all know of the repeated cases of murders against our kin. Everywhere we turn, we Lumads and other national minorities are brutalized. Yet we will remain defiant. No amount of police brutality can dent the indefatigable and united spirit of the national minorities,” Ogan said.

The protesters proceeded to the Manila Police District headquarters to demand for the release of the arrested activists and condemn the police for the violent dispersal.

They are also demanding accountability from Pedrozo for using excessive force during the dispersal.

The national minorities travelled to Metro Manila to assert their rights to ancestral domain and self-determination as well as to demand the removal of US military and corporate presence from indigenous lands.

The struggle of the national minorities

During their rally, leaders of national minority groups spoke of abuses by the military who they accuse of acting as mercenaries of the US government and foreign corporations.

They said the militarization to their communities goes along with the destruction of the environment and their ancestral domains.

“Every single time the Americans show up, we can’t sleep, hunt or even eat in peace when they are so close to our communities,” Sonny Serrano of the Central Luzon Aeta Association said.

“The US Embassy and the military allow US soldiers to get away with crimes against indigenous people. Why must we tolerate such a system that puts Americans over indigenous peoples?” Serrano added.

Aba, for his part, added that the US not only promotes the destruction of the environment but also the discrimination on national minorities.

The Moro people of Mindanao fought the Americans to defend their ancestral domains that led to the Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak massacres where hundreds were massacred by US troops.

“They keep calling us Muslims terrorists, but who is the real terrorist here? Who has committed so many crimes against the people of the Philippines?” Aba added.

The US military is currently present in Mindanao, who President Duterte said must leave as soon as possible. # (With reports by Raymund B. Villanueva and Divine C. Miranda)

Police vehicle rams through indigenous peoples protesters in front of the US Embassy.

Police vehicle rams through and runs over indigenous peoples protesters in front of the US Embassy.

Katribu leader and Sandugo convenor Pia Macliing Malayao lies on the ground after being hit by the police vehicle.

Katribu leader and Sandugo convenor Pia Macliing Malayao lies on the ground during violent dispersal.

A protester bleeds after being clubbed by the police.

A protester bleeds after being clubbed by the police.

Injured and bleeding protesters being accosted by the police.

Injured and bleeding protesters being accosted by the police.

 

 

Workers successfully hold rally at US Consulate on Labor Day

Thousands of workers and their supporters overpowered phalanxes of Philippine National Police personnel to reach Roxas Boulevard in front of the United States Consulate on May 1.

Wanting to close their Labor Day activities by holding a rally in front of the consulate to denounce increased US military presence in the Philippines, the protesters used their superior number in overpowering hastily organized police lines.

Kilusang Mayo Uno, organizer of the biggest Labor Day event in the capital, said that neo-liberal policies dictated by the US on the Benigno Aquino government is to be blamed for the low wages and labor-only contracting policies they suffer.

EDITORIAL CARTOON: Government response

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By AMEL SABANGAN.

It has been a constant refrain by the Aquino government, that many of those who oppose its policies are branded as communist rebels. It does not matter if they are human rights defenders, indigenous peoples’ educators, or starved farmers. They often end up in jail, hospitals or, worst, dead in the government’s effort to assert itself against suffering citizens.

UP professor reveals harassment of farmers in Kidapawan

University of the Philippines Professor Gerardo Lanuza reveals in a press conference the continuing harassment victims of the April 1 Kidapawan shooting suffer.

Lanuza participated in a fact-finding mission to Kidapawan a few days after the incident. He was assigned to interview four injured farmers, but was prevented by the presence of four soldiers armed with assault rifles inside a local hospital.

In this video, Lanuza enumerates the various ways in which the police and the Philippine Army make injured farmer Christopher Lumandang suffer even further.

(Featured image of Christopher Lumandang by Kilab Multimedia)

Mar’s arrival prompted violent Kidapawan dispersal–Karapatan

Various groups held a condemnation rally in front of the Department of Agriculture main office in Quezon City to condemn the massacre of farmers in Kidapawan City morning of April 1.

According to later reports, at least three farmers were killed and 30 farmers were injured when Philippine National Police fired upon farmers barricading the highway to press the government for relief from hunger brought upon by the protracted drought that hit the region.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said they received reports that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas was set to arrive in Kidapawan prompting the PNP to disperse the barricade.

Six thousand farmers and indigenous peoples have been barricading the Cotabato-Davao Highway since Saturday.

Here is a short clip of Palabay’s speech at the rally.

(Photo by Kilab Multimedia)