(Note: I am posting here a letter I sent to friends at Mobileactive.)
Dear friends at Mobileactive,
I am writing on behalf of Philippine people’s organizations who are now bearing the brunt of a so-called Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) policy against mass actions, rallies and demonstrations. Most of these protests are being undertaken by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan, New Patriotic Alliance), the Gloria Step Down Movement (GSM, of which TXTPower is a participating organization) and the Solidarity Movement.
Disgraced President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has enunciated the CPR policy purportedly in response to mass demonstrations calling for her resignation or ouster through direct people’s actions. She is unleashing a reign of fascist terror against the Filipino people in a mad drive to remain in power.
The CPR policy is a radical departure from the negotiations between rallyists and members of the police that have ensured the peaceful and free conduct of protests especially at historic Mendiola Bridge which leads to the presidential palace. It is also brazenly violates provisions of the Philippine Constitution and relevant international laws.
The result of the CPR policy is that policemen have obviously felt licensed to unleased brutality against demonstrators. Arrests are now being made without any warrant, while others are being abducted by policemen in plainclothes while a demonstration is going on. Those arrested and abducted are often mugged inside police mobile patrol cars en route to the nearest police station.
Even activist members of Congress belonging to Bayan Muna (People First) are not being spared from police assaults during the street marches.
For pictures of the violent dispersal operations of Arroyo’s police against demonstrators and what Filipino activist groups are being prevented from doing, please visit: www.arkibongbayan.org, www.bayanmuna.net and www.bayan.ph
Relatedly, the Arroyo regime has also proposed a draconian Anti-Terrorism Act that outclasses the US Patriot Act in so far as watering-down the Bill of Rights of citizens, has required presidential approval prior to any high official’s appearance before any inquiry of Congress, and has reported to have drafted an Executive Order placing the country under a “state of emergency”. Some have described the situation today as a “creeping” martial law.
Please support the campaign against CPR and for free expression, free speech and free assembly in the Philippines. Condemn police brutality being directed against activists and common people joining rallies that demand Arroyo’s resignation or ouster.
Help us by spreading the word. Be a friend of Filipinos by circulating this letter.