Urban poor group SIKKAD-K3 said that community members are being ‘profiled’ by the anti-communist task force.
By Caleb Buenaluz
Human rights group Karapatan Timog Katagalugan (Karapatan-TK) condemned the ‘clarification statement’ provided by National Task-Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) addressed to the members of housing community alliance San Isidro Kasiglahan, Kapatiran, at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan Katarungan at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD K3) last June 23, 2020.
Residents of Kasiglahan Village, Rodriguez, Rizal received a letter, titled “Ilang Paglilinaw Hinggil sa NTF-ELCAC”. The letter accused the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) of unfurling misinformation. This was said to be distributed with the aim to supposedly clarify certain misconceptions regarding the Task Force, including their campaign against community alliance.
Responding to the incident, the group stated that this is yet another example of how the NTF-ELCAC and their alliances are manipulating the masses.
“Kung gusto pala na tugunan ng NTF-ELCAC ang mga pangangailangan ng mga mamamayan at tulungan sila upang maging maayos ang kanilang pamumuhay, bakit may pagbabanggit ng mga ganitong kaso? Ang tingin ba nila sa mga mamamayan ng Kasiglahan Village ay mga rebelde? Ano ba talaga ang kanilang gusto, kasuhan sila o tulungan sila? Ano ba ang nais iparating ng mga berdugong ito?” Kyle Salgado, spokersperson of Karapatan-TK said.
A reign of terror
Members of SIKKAD K3 themselves reported to have been encountering numerous forms of harassment from authorities prior to this incident.
“Naka-ilang beses nang ‘naimbitahan’ ang mga lokal ng mga sundalo para ‘diumano sa “awarding ng pabahay” sa kanila ngunit sa likod nito ay papatinding pagtugis sa mga mamamayan upang ilayo sila sa landas ng paglaban para sa kanilang karapatang sibil, karapatan sa kabuhayan at serbisyong panlipunan na nagbabalat-kayo bilang isang maka-mamamayang programa,” Salgado said.
Last May 22, 80 members were invited by state agents in a meeting and discussed their involvement with the action of CPP-NPA-NDF (READ: https://bit.ly/MilitaryInvitation).
Last June 22, elements of the 80th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and NTF-ELCAC sent a letter, notifying the village where SIKKAD K3 members stay-in of the state agents intruding. Karapatan-TK has reported that the soldiers were collecting personal information from the residents in their homes despite ongoing quarantine in the area (READ: https://bit.ly/KasiglahanIntrusion).
Karapatan-TK also demanded for authorities to instead place more efforts in understanding the true roots of the problem, including responding to numerous calls for mass testing. They called to fend the military around their village, defend their rights in home and to junk the Executive Order (EO) 70, which has been linked to several incidents of red-tagging and illegal arrests. [P]