PRESS STATEMENT | April 22, 2019
Since Duterte assumed power and became the head bureaucrat capitalist in the country, uninterrupted killings and crimes have plagued the Philippines. Duterte is spilling the blood of the Filipino masses in his vicious wars to establish himself as fascist dictator. Duterte’s utter disregard for human rights, human life per se and justice exposes his anti-people, anti-poor character.
Today the Negrosanons, especially the people of Northern Negros, is grieving the merciless killing of human rights defender and Escalante City incumbent councilor Bernardino “Toto” Patigas, Sr, 72 years old, late this afternoon. Councilor Patigas was active in supporting the struggles of sugar workers and peasants for wage, benefits and land to till and consistently stood for human rights. He was an Escalante massacre survivor during Marcos’ martial law, founding member of the North Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates and highly regarded servant of the people for most of his life. And now he is the 70th victim of Duterte’s de facto martial law in Negros.
This heinous crime was done after forces of the AFP Central Command and PNP Regional Office 7 ran amuck during Oplan Sauron II (or the sychronized enhanced managing of police operations) leaving 14 dead bodies and devastating hundreds of families. If we recall, last February, HR advocates in north Negros exposed a hit list of the military that ushered in the spread of Oplan Sauron in Negros Occidental. These are aftermaths of Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32 and Executive Order 70. There is no doubt that the same diabolical minds that created Oplan Sauron are behind this attack against human rights advocates.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Negros strongly condemns the brutal killing of Councilor Patigas and condoles with his family, friends and colleagues. Together with all Negrosanons, the NDF demands justice for Councilor Patigas and all victims of state fascism.
However, revolutionary forces and the masses are aware that the call for justice falls on deaf ears under the US-Duterte regime when Duterte himself is the perpetrator of senseless killings and injustice and is the main promoter of impunity. Justice can only be given by the people’s democratic government through its New People’s Army. Utmost justice can only be attained by overthrowing the semicolonial and semifeudal system starting with the US-Duterte regime.
Councilor Patigas’ murder as well as the murder of fellow human rights defender and peasant lawyer Atty. Ben Ramos and the killings of Negrosanons who struggle for their rights like the Sagay 9 massacre victims and SEMPO 1 and 2 victims further inflame the people’s wrath and gives strength to their resistance against Duterte’s fixation to perpetuate his tyranny. The people will surmount the terror that Duterte and his cabal wants to escalate. They will launch an all-out resistance and tread the path of revolution. Duterte makes it crystal clear that the principal means to topple his regime is through armed struggle.
Justice for all victims of state fascism!
Resist de facto martial law in Negros!
Overthrow the US-Duterte regime!
National Democratic Front of the Philippine – Negros Island