Resist and Fight Duterte’s Terror in Panay

After a lull of less than two months from the frustrated liquidation of PO1 Dorben Acap by DDS PO2 Melvin Mocorro on June 26, 2018 Duterte’s local bloodhounds and lapdogs personified by Regional Director John Bulalacao, Provincial Director Marlon Tayaba, Iloilo City Chief Superintendent Henry Biñas, 301st Brigade Col Benedict Arevalo and 61st IB Col Sisenando Magbalot are back on their killing spree, more ruthless than ever.

On the 15th of August 2018, desiring to mesmerize the public in fear and terror, Duterte’s Death Squads in the embodiment of the 301st Brigade, 61st IB and the PNP launched their most brutal and vicious massacre of seven unarmed revolutionary comrades. This incident spread like wildfire especially in the region eliciting varied reactions of anger, disgust, fear and helplessness from different sectors of society in Panay.

Barely two weeks later, from near end-August to September 7, nine persons have been murdered allegedly because of drugs. Of these nine, 3 were murdered in the towns of Pavia, Sara and Cabatuan in Iloilo, 4 in Iloilo City and 2 in Antique. They were murdered in broad daylight by uniformed and non-uniformed Duterte Death Squads. The uniformed DDS call themselves members of the PNP, PDEA and RDEU while the non-uniformed DDS announce their presence by their ‘riding in tandem’ outfit of black mask or helmet and short firearms.

The two persons killed by the RDEU (Regional Drug Enforcement Unit) in Antique were residents of Ticud, Lapaz district in Iloilo City and were seen by bystanders to have been picked-up by armed men in Lapaz. A few days after, the DDS RDEU boasted of having neutralized former drug surrenderers Jennifer Gubatangga and his cousin in a buy-bust operation in San Pedro, San Jose, Antique.

What is ironic and unfortunate is that many of these murdered alleged drug users-pushers were drug surrenderers and have undergone rehabilitation. But they reverted back to their old habit, said the uniformed DDS who have killed at least five of the nine victims. Why they were killed was because they fought back or rather most of them were the first to pull out the gun but of course the DDS expert assassins were quicker to the draw.

Surprisingly or not surprising anymore, is that most of the victims were armed with a .38 revolver and hand grenade. However the last victim was armed with a .22 revolver and hand grenade. The police must have run out of .38’s.

More amazing however or not amazing anymore, is that these men killed were mostly alone or with their wives and children in their homes yet were so fearless and bold, daring all odds against a platoon of raiders armed with automatic rifles, handguns, grenades, shields and armor. All this bravery to give up their lives for 10 grams or 30 grams of shabu found in their person or closet or sofa or wherever the DDS prefer to plant.

As Duterte’s chief lapdogs and executioners in the region, Arevalo, Magbalot and Bulalacao want to effect fear and terror in the cities and countryside of Panay. They have to please and impress their blood-thirsty master and the police must fulfill their quotas. Another underlying reason is drug rivalry and the war on turf by competing and police-protected drug-lords eager to fill the vacuum left by the fallen drug-lords.

To some extent this mercenary trio have effected fear and awe especially in Iloilo. Most affected by the fast-paced murders are drug surrenderers or suspected drug users, pushers, couriers or protectors listed or unlisted by the uniformed and non-uniformed Duterte Death Squads in the region. Also affected are the people in communities tagged as drug-affected or drug-infested usually in urban-poor areas.

But what is more appalling and disgusting is the silence and insensitivity of the local bureaucracy to these wanton killings. Not one governor in the region especially the one in Iloilo has uttered a word of concern. Not one mayor in Iloilo especially in the city has uttered a word of dismay. Not one board member in the province nor a councilor in the city (except for one) has raised alarm over these murders. Not one congressman especially in Iloilo province and the city district has raised consternation. These cowardly and inutile bureaucrats show their fear of the madman President through silence and turn their face away from the unjustified cold-blooded killings done to their constituents, whether they be suspects or surrenderers or druggies.

These callous and apathetic bureaucrats are more focused in the electoral dispute for power. Their primary concern is to stay in power whether the form of rule would remain pseudo-democratic or transform into a dictatorship. Democracy and freedom they would enjoy with their ruling class ilk of big compradors, big landlords and family dynasties. The Defensors, Treñases, Espinosas and their kind would still thrive and rule in a Duterte dictatorship under his armpits, licking his boots and butt.

Duterte’s bounty hunters AFP and PNP, and the local politicians blab about solving criminality and prevailing peace and order. But the people fear and mistrust the military and police and feel safer and more comfortable in their absence. And politicians are only good during elections when people could at least benefit from their dole-out binge. The bureaucrats have proven to be inutile in the face of rising prices, rice crisis at 140 a ganta, land-grabbing and landlessness, contractualization and joblessness, jeepney phase-out, inflation at 6.4%, the tax burden from TRAIN, demolitions and homelessness, high tuition fees, low salaries, abuse and murder of ofws, and barefaced murders and extra-judicial killings right at our front doors.

It is quite apparent that the people have no one to turn to but their organized actions in order to put a stop to their economic depression, worsening poverty and deprivation and the political repression against those who demand reforms, responsibility and accountability by those in power. All past regimes and especially the present fascist US-Duterte regime have never ever served the people, have never ever been governments for the people and of the people. Rather they have been regimes for the imperialists, for the big compradors, big landlords and the bureaucrats.

Our revolutionary history and own experience have shown that it is not the state, it is not the government that could genuinely change our country’s course but the people powerful and united. The people of Panay must unite with the millions of our countrymen to fight the seemingly formidable force and power of the US-Duterte fascist regime. The US-Marcos dictatorship was once formidable, was once ruthless and most powerful. But the Filipino people proved to be the most powerful and the most united.

We must build the broadest united alliance for genuine change and reforms. We must resist Duterte’s anti-people economic policies and impositions. We must challenge his tyrannical rule and that of his mercenary AFP and PNP in the region, expose his pseudo drug war, his pseudo federalism as a way to dictatorship and his puppetry to US and Chinese imperialism.

Let us not be terrified by Duterte’s and his trio minions’ terror tactics. Bullies run when their victims fight back. The NDF and the New People’s Army in Panay enjoin all patriotic, righteous, freedom loving and peace loving Panayanons to resist Duterte’s tyrannical rule and contribute to his downfall thru all forms of struggle, armed and unarmed.

Concha Araneta
Spokesperson
NDF-Panay
9 September 2018