SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.

SF CHRP Condemns Militarization of SONA

Protestors during last year's Peoples' SONA, organized by BAYAN, on Commonwealth Ave where razor wire is being placed along for Monday (photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan).

Protestors during last year’s Peoples’ SONA, organized by BAYAN, on Commonwealth Ave where razor wire is being placed along for Monday (photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan).

Refernece: Rupert Estanislao, chair
E-mail: sanfranchrp@gmail.com

The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) has condemned the increasing militarization of President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address set to take place on Monday.

On Sunday, the Philippine government began putting up razor wire all along Commonwealth Ave stretching from Ever up to Bataan which is the route that the national democratic alliance, BAYAN, expects up to 10,000 protestors to march and voice their concerns over Aquino’s neoliberal policies, budget cuts, public-private partnership schemes, and human rights record.

The militarization of the protest route with razor wire, which will also accompany hundreds of riot police manning barricades, comes on the heels of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Quezon City government denying the right of BAYAN to organize a march and protest which BAYAN is calling the Peoples’ SONA.

“The Aquino administration would have us believe that he considers the people his ‘bosses,’” said SF CHRP chair Rupert Estanislao, “when in reality Aquino views the legitimate grievances of the people as a threat and instead of critically engaging with the people he actually fears them.”

The Peoples’ State of the Nation, which is a tradition that dates back over a decade, has been the best way for the Filipino people to highlight their grievances and to counter the State of the Nation Address which has become little more than a PR opportunity for any currently sitting president. Because of this the Quezon City government and the PNP have pushed the protestors further down Commonwealth Ave, year after year, further away from Malacañang Palace.

“The actions of the Aquino regime towards the people are a total disgrace,” exclaimed Estanislao. “He will stop at nothing to delegitimize the peoples’ protest. Not only has he lined razor wire and riot police all up and down Commonwealth Avenue but he has already tried to stop peaceful protest caravans from Cavite and Quezon Province from reaching the National Capital Region by using the PNP to harassing them and stop them in their tracks.”

Protestors planning on traveling to Peoples’ SONA for Monday have been stopped by the PNP in Bacoor and San Pablo, Laguna.

“This type of harassment must stop,” demanded Estanislao. “The Aquino regime is using legal, extra-legal, and martial law style methods in order to silence legitimate protest. Also, what else could the razor wire be used for other than to injure peaceful protestors? Who can forget last year when the PNP illegally charged the ranks of the protestors at last year’s Peoples’ SONA attacking anyone in site and causing numerous injuries.”

This year there will be over 100 human rights monitors within the protest to make sure that the PNP and the government do nothing to undermine the peaceful protest.

SF CHRP is demanding that the martial law style razor wire be taken down from Commonwealth Ave as it’s only purpose is to injure people who are merely taking part in a peaceful protest. The human rights organization also wants to point out that it is the presence of heavily armed PNP riot police who are the real danger and demands that they fully cooperate with BAYAN during the Peoples’ SONA in order to make sure there is no undue violence towards the protestors. SF CHRP also demands that all peaceful protest caravans be allowed to travel to the National Capital Region unabated and free from harassment by the local authorities, military, and PNP.



This entry was posted on July 21, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , .

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