Subject: URGENT – PHILIPPINES: What do we know so far about the Bloody Sunday raids in Southern Luzon?

What do we know so far about the Bloody Sunday raids in Southern Luzon?

Timeline of events leading to the massacre and arrests of civilians in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal. PNP-CIDG, the perpetrator of the killings, said nine were killed, nine were arrested, and six remain at-large.

March 4 – Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) national council member Ramir Endriga Corcolon, a campaigner against the privatization of water services and secretary-general of the Water System Employees Response (WATER) was arrested by the PNP-CIDG in an early morning raid of his house in Barangay VII-B, San Pablo City in Laguna. Corcolon was taken to Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang town. Authorities planted a .45 caliber pistol; several ammunition, an improvised explosive device, and a fragmentation grenade on Corcolon and accused him of being a member of a criminal gang.

On the same day, labor leader Arnedo Lagunias of the Lakas Manggagawang Nagkakaisa sa Honda and Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Enklabo was arrested in Brgy. Pulong, Sta. Rosa Laguna for alleged possession of a rifle grenade. Before his arrest, Lagunias was red-tagged as a high-ranking member of CPP-NPA. Raiding forces planted a caliber .45

The search warrants served to Endriga and Lagunias were issued by Executive Judge Divinagracia Bustos-Ongkeko of Branch 91 RTC Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

On March 5, President Rodrigo Duterte gave orders about how to deal with communist rebels to the police and military at a meeting in Cagayan de Oro City of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Duterte said, “Kill, kill them all. Finish them. Don’t mind human rights.

In the same meeting, Duterte kicked-off a series of visits all over the country to award development projects to barangays or villages deemed “cleared” of “communist influence” under the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, announced that Duterte will soon visit Eastern Visayas and CALABARZON regions in the next weeks of March. Duterte himself chairs the NTF-ELCAC while Esperon is the vice-chairperson.

March 7 – Early dawn synchronized police-military raids in Southern Luzon joined by Police Regional Office CALABARZON with operating units from CIDG Regional Field Unit 4A, CIDG National Capital Region, Special Action Force and its Air Unit in collaboration with the 202nd Brigade, 2ID Philippine Army.

The state forces had search warrants for 18 individuals, most were known leaders and members of progressive organizations in the region. The Tokhang-style operations led to the killing of five leaders of local people’s organizations and the arrest of activists. The brutal incidents are now referred to ‘Bloody Sunday’.

Those killed were the following:

Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Asuncion of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Cavite.

Activist-couple Chai Lemita-Evangelista and Ariel Evangelista of Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan at Kalupaan (UMALPAS-KA). Their 10-year old son is still unaccounted for as of writing.

Michael Dasigao and Mark Lee Bacasno of SIKKAD-K3. They are urban poor organizers from Kasiglahan Village 3 in Montalban, Rizal.

Among those arrested were the following:

Esteban ‘Steve’ Mendoza, National Executive Vice President of Olalia-Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).

Nimfa Lanzanas, 61, a paralegal of Karapatan and a member of Kapatid – Families and Friends of Political Prisoners. As a paralegal, she assists victims of human rights violations including her son, political prisoner Edward Lanzanas. Now, she is a political prisoner herself. Lanzanas is a grandmother of four and suffers from hypertension and arthritis.

Elizabeth “Mags” Camoral, former union president of F-Tech and current spokesperson of Bayan-Laguna. She was arrested at the office of Defend Yulo Farmers in Cabuyao, Laguna.

Eugene Eugenio, member of COURAGE-Rizal and a former employee of Antipolo City Hall.

Two local farmers in Rizal named Moises and Dodong.

The search warrants in the March 7 raids were issued by Jose Lorenzo de la Rosa, Presiding Judge of the RTC Manila Branch 4. Dela Rosa was the same Judge that issued search warrants against Tumanduk activists in Capiz and Iloilo last December 30.

In a statement, KMP said it can only blame Rodrigo Duterte, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., and the entire NTF-ELCAC for this brutal crackdown and killings of Southern Luzon activists. The raids and killings came days after Duterte verbalized his “kill them all” order in what is appearing to be the NTF-ELCAC’s “March offensive” against activists and progressive people’s organization red-tagged as so-called “legal fronts.” CALABARZON and the entire Southern Luzon is under the jurisdiction of Parlade, also among the most rabid red-taggers from the NTF-ELCAC.

The synchronized raids also occurred on the eve of the International Women’s Day, wherein progressive groups are expected to lead nationally-coordinated protests against the Duterte administration’s failed pandemic response and the Anti-Terrorism Law.

KMP warned there could be more follow-up operations and raids in the coming days and weeks, and the public must remain vigilant in resisting state-sponsored human rights violations. ###

DEMANDS AND CALL FOR SUPPORT:

1. Demand justice for the victims of Southern Luzon Bloody Sunday!

2. Demand the release of the arrested activists and individuals. Protect the survivors and witnesses!

3. Call on Executive Judges to stop issuing defective search warrants that lead to the killings and arrests of civilians.

4. Demand the junking of Executive Order 70 and the disbandment and defunding of the NTF-ELCAC.

5. Sack Gen. Parlade and Oust Rodrigo Duterte!

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