(On the 43rd anniversary of the outright declaration of martial law)
As far as developments are concerned that have taken place since the downfall of outright fascist dictatorship, there is in reality and increasingly much to continue condemning today as the nation recollects the 43rd anniversary of the declaration of the Marcos martial law regime.
Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances; illegal searches and seizures; illegal arrests and detention; torture; threats; forced evacuations of communities; military takeover of schools, religious, baranggay facilities and other public places in rural areas have kept on increasing and revealing the fascist fangs of subsequent regimes, up to the present ruling regime, even if martial law was supposedly ended 29 years ago.
Of late, fascism against indigenous people, most significantly against Lumad communities in Mindanao, especially in the Caraga region, have particularly been intensifying. This, in effort to break their resistance to pernicious large-scale mining, illegal logging and other wanton destruction of natural resources in their ancestral lands. Lumad people have of late been suffering intensified massive destructions and forced evacuations of their communities; torture, illegal detention and murder of their leaders; rape of their women and daughters; raids, takeover and closure of their schools by military and paramilitary forces; burning of their cooperatives; and other fascist attacks against them.
De facto martial law has intensified in Lumad Mindanao, as it continues throughout the country.
Since its onset, the present Benigno S. Aquino III regime has repeatedly been mouthing that there no longer are political prisoners in the country. Yet it has had the most number of political prisoners — numbering more than 500 — since the downfall of the Marcos outright martial law regime.
Practically all of these present political prisoners have been swamped with trumped-up criminalized charges. Most have been kept in prison for several years now, with their trumped-up court cases going through snail’s pace, and many without having gone through court hearings for many years. Many of these present political prisoners have been kept under “special intensive care” (euphemism for “maximum risk detention”), and cruelly subjected to severe rigidities and fascist restrictions.
Among these political prisoners have been an increasing number (now more than 17) of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) peace consultants and staffs, in violation of long-standing peace agreements supposedly for the protection of these peace consultants and staffs from surveillance, arrest, torture, trumped-up charges and other harsh measures that have been detering their effective participation and work in the peace process.
A number, like Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan and Leopoldo Caloza — all long-term NDF peace consultants — have further been subjected to spurious convictions under trumped-up charges, with twisted “justifications” made by the courts, under pressure by the ruling regime’s fascist military and intelligence forces.
All these only reveal — even under democratic facade — the fascist pangs of the ruling regime, and cast heavy doubts in regard to its “interest” in the peace process.
We, NDF peace consultants and other political prisoners, who continue to be jailed and subjected to harsh treatments and cruelties, and who deeply sympathize with the masses severely subjected to fascist repressions under past and present ruling regimes, decry the continuing reality of fascist practices under thin democratic facade.
We raise loud our clamor for real end to fascism and, despite our frustrations in peace efforts with series of ruling regimes, continue to call for real and serious peace talks for the establishment of a truly democratic, pro-people and progressive governance.
NDF peace consultants
and other political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City
(September 21, 2015)