Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo, or the Artists’ Alliance for Genuine Agrarian Reform, denounces the spate of attacks made by the Duterte regime against the Filipino people in the past week. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have taken the nightlong fictive horror of Halloween and made it real, stretching it across seven days by way of illegal raids, abductions, arrests, and outright murders. By tricking the Filipino people that activists of the legal mass movement are terrorists, the Duterte regime treats the ruling class—particularly big landowners—with measures that facilitate their plunder of the country.
With Gabriela Germany, we condemn the arrest of Cora Agovida, chairperson of Gabriela Manila, and her husband, Tim Bartolome, of Kadamay Metro Manila on October 31. This was swiftly followed by a police and military raid of the offices of Gabriela, Bayan Muna, and the National Federation of Sugar Workers and select activist homes in Bacolod, as well as of another NFSW office and another activist home early the next day. The mass arrest on the island resulted in the incarceration of a total of 57 activists—32 of whom have just been released today through the efforts of a fact-finding and solidarity mission currently being conducted.
With the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, we condemn the suppression of artists, particularly theater-makers from Teatro Obrero, Teatro Bungkal, and Teatro Kaling who were among the 57 arrested on the island. Even prior to this harassment, the AFP and the PNP have been baring their fangs to Teatro Obrero, having thwarted preparations for the 34th-anniversary commemoration of the Escalante Massacre last September by planting their vehicle with firearms and improvised explosives to justify the arrest of eight artists. It is this same devious tactic of planting evidence that state forces have been doing to vilify legitimate mass organizations and charge them with fabricated, and unbailable, accusations. These arrests, which come in the heels of 87 civilian murders on the island, take place under the auspices of Memorandum Order 32, a counter-insurgency policy that has put the entire island under de-facto martial law.
With Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, or the Peasant Movement of the Philippines and the Federation of Agricultural Workers, we condemn the violent targeting of the peasant sector. Butch Lozande, secretary-general of the NFSW, was also among those arrested in Negros, alongside with several other peasant activists. Even the artists who had been arrested had been arrested for their work in the peasant struggle. Worse than arrests, however, the Duterte regime has been carrying out cold-blooded murder, having the taken seven peasant lives in the Bicol region in the last three days. On November 1 and 2, two members of Masbate People’s Organization were shot dead. Five more were killed in Masbate today, including a barangay captain. Like Negros, Masbate is also covered by MO32. This list doesn’t include yet the murder of Reynaldo Malaborbor of Makabayan Southern Tagalog on November 4, which took place under Oplan Kapanatagan, the ST counterpart of Oplan Sauron which killed a total of 20 peasants in Negros.
From Berlin, we echo the anti-imperialist line of the International League of People’s Struggles, emphasizing that these fascist attacks are carried out by the state in favor of foreign monopoly capitalists who have everything to gain from Duterte’s suppression of legitimate criticism and legal dissent. A huge number of activists targeted are those directly involved in the peasant struggle for the free distribution of land to the tillers—a movement that threatens the feudal landlord-peasant relation that forms the social basis of imperialism in the Philippines. The counter-insurgency policies and operations with which the state wipes out civilian activists are not only approved of but funded by US imperialism, the Philippines being one of the world’s biggest recipients of US military aid.
In honor of the arrested theater-makers in the Philippines, we deliver this condemnation in front of a theater, and in honor of the over-300 peasants killed by worsening fascist conditions under the Duterte regime, we raise our voices and our fists across a memorial raised to the victims of fascist horror. We especially hold this mobilization today, on the first anniversary of the murder of Atty. Ben Ramos, who had been martyred for his dedication to the peasant struggle in Negros. We call on all freedom-loving people to join us in calling for an end to the long and ghastly Halloween perpetrated by the anti-peasant, anti-women, and anti-artist US-Duterte regime.