PRESS STATEMENT
06 December 2016
Reference: Dr. Efleda Bautista, spokesperson of Tindog Visayas – 0939 478 1340
Photos of Presscon Here

Visayas-Bicol people’s caravan on the road to December 10 rally to protest ‘virtual Martial Law’ in the countryside

We, leaders of the hundreds of farmers, disaster survivors, and other members of frontline communities currently journeying to the heart of the National Capital under the banner of ‘Tindog Visayas and Kadena Bikolandia: Lakbayan Laban sa Kagutuman at Militarisasyon’, are announcing our series of protests leading to the convergence of various mobilizations for people’s rights and justice on International Human Rights Day on December 10.

We have travelled hundreds of miles to demand that President Rodrigo Duterte decisively take action on the virtual Martial Law that continues to be imposed over our communities standing up against the pervading landlessness, poverty, hunger and injustice. Across the regions of Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Negros, and Western Visayas, battalions of army troops, paramilitaries, police, and private security forces terrorize our communities with intimidation and harassment, indiscriminate firing, village occupation and hamletting, and other grave human rights violations.

The reign of terror under the Aquino regime’s counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan is still in full force under the current Duterte administration, targeting the corridors of people’s resistance with brutal repression instead of meaningful reforms. Even Duterte’s drug war, which has already claimed thousands of lives, now also has mass activists in its crosshairs.

We felt sheer disappointment when President Duterte’s promise of ensuring a hero’s burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos came infinitely quicker than our urgent and ‘doable’ demands for food, shelter, land, livelihood, and a multitude of other substantive reforms that could have been done within the same time.

There are 200,000 typhoon Yolanda survivors across the Visayas regions who did not receive shelter assistance a full three years after the disaster. Some 300,000 sugar workers in Negros suffer through the chronic disaster of ‘Tiempo Muerto’ when the off-season period leaves them hungry for months. No less than four powerful typhoons and one of the strongest ‘El Nino’ drought attacks in recent history came after ‘Yolanda’ and furthered battered the agriculture, fisheries, and working conditions across the still struggling regions.

Meanwhile, thousands of hectares of lands are being swallowed whole by development aggression, including the construction of mega infrastructures, large-scale mines and mega dams, and reclamation and other forms of land-use conversion. Thousands upon thousands are being ejected from their homes and lands in the process.

Many who have fought against these attacks against our rights, lands, and environment have been criminalized and illegally detained. Some 400 political prisoners, including many peasant organizers and other activists from Bicol and Visayas, continue to languish in jail despite perpetrating no real crime. The release of political prisoners as a matter of justice is also one pillar of the ongoing peace talks between the Duterte government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Instead of pouring efforts to address the plight of the people in Bicol and the entire Visayas and their aspirations for justice and peace, the accommodation for the Marcoses has clearly won as the priority concern.

It is most alarming that this political rehabilitation of the Marcoses comes alongside the intensifying Marcosian attacks against the people. We thus march together with the protest movements of Metro Manila on December 10 to intensify our demands for land, rights, and justice. It is high time that we rise up and let our cries reverberate to Malacanang. From Martial Law to Oplan Bayanihan, we say: Never Again! From the islands of Visayas to the rolling ranges of Bicol, we cry: Tindog—Rise up!#

LAKBAYAN SCHEDULE OF MAJOR ACTIVITIES
DEC 7
Protest rally at the Department of National Defense
DEC 8
Salubungan  activity with the hosting PUP community
DEC 9
#BlackFriday camp at the Lakbayan Kampuhan in PUP
DEC 10
Lakbayan joins the Human Rights Day mobilization at Liwasang Bonifacio

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 920 90 99 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net