[Press Release] Activism is not terrorism! -Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc.

Activism is not terrorism!

The Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP) vehemently condemns on the highest possible terms, the present US backed Duterte regime, together with the Department of Justice (DOJ), for its February 23, 2018 pronouncement, tagging 656 personalities as terrorists. Among the named individuals belong to national minority, human rights defenders, development workers, environmental activists and student activists in different regions of the country. These individuals have been in the forefront in defending life and lands over corporate plunder. They have continously struggled for self determination and right to development together with the marginalized.

We consider this as a desperate move of the regime to consolidate its power with aid from different agencies, like AFP and PNP, of the government, and violation to our basic human rights. A witchhunt campaign that will legitimize killings, arrest and disappearances.

We are afraid that persons on the said list can be arrested without due court process nor proceedings. Historically, once an organization or a person tagged as terorist, the legitimized and State sponsored Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA,) can perform warrantless arrest, surveillance and freezing of all assets of a person merely suspected to commit terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism.

This measure made by the Department of Justice will not address the root cause of the historic conflict in our land especially the issue on the right to self-determination of our national minority brothers and sisters. Clearly, it is intended to crumple down the peoples struggle for genuine peace and democracy by means of harassing, vilifying and intimidating leaders of different mass organizations and civil society organizations.

To add, its a form of swerving away and a betrayal to our constitution. For our constitution guarantees protest and all forms of public assembly as the highest form of expressing ones’ ideas, belief and opinion and it is a universal right that must not to be compromised but to be safeguarded at all times.

We wish to express our solidarity to all our colleagues who are now facing different fabricated charges from the State. PNFSP believes that it is malicious, one sided, self-serving and anti-people attack. Development workers, are peace loving people of this nation, dedicating their lives in defending the supreme promise of democracy and worked hard and voluntarily for the common good and fate of the Filipino people.

We call the Duterte Administration to Pursue the peace talks between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and build towards the advancement of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which includes the issue of free land distribution to farmers and farm workers. Stop criminalizing indegenous peoples! Drop all trumped-up charges against activists and human rights defenders and development workers and to release all political prisoners! Junk the DOJ Petition and scrap the fake “terrorist list”! And address the root cause of the historic conflict of the Philippine land through a genuine agrarian reform.

For we firmly believe that by addressing the above mentioned call, we can resolve the issue of the long armed rebellion and poverty in the country. For it breaks the chains of oppression and it charts our course as one nation.###

Renmin Vizconde
Executive Director
Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc.


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