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Miyerkules, Marso 6, 2013

WE ARE NOT AFRAID: A Press Statement


Press statement
06 March 2012

We will never be cowed:
We condemn harassment and surveillance of MAKABAYAN Lanao Headquarters
 and personnel

The Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (MAKABAYAN) Lanao, a national political party aspiring for genuine change and democracy, strongly condemns the grave harassment and intimidation against Piston Partylist Provincial coordinator for Lanao Kenneth Floyd Navarro on March 4, 2013. We also condemn the surveillance activities against the Makabayan Lanao Headquarters and personnel for the past few days.

Around 7:10 in the evening of March 04, 2013, a man wearing leather jacket bringing with him a hand-held radio followed Kenneth Navarro for about 20mins from Brgy. San Miguel near Famous Pension House up to Tibanga highway near Sanitarium Hospital. After Navarro noticed that he was being followed, he rode a habal-habal (motorcycle) to get to his destination that evening. However, this is when he noticed that a dark blue van with no plate number is following him. When he dropped off at the public market the van also stopped at the entrance where he was again followed by four men, having hand-held radio with them. When he thought he got rid of them in the public market he then preceded to Bara-as near the talipapa. After a few minutes he saw the dark blue van again passing by the route that he had taken. These confirmed that he was being followed that night.

During the past few days, Makabayan-Lanao Headquarters had been put under surveillance. The volunteers and coordinators identified a blue motorcycle with no plate number, tinted black SUV with tinted plate number, and a black motorcycle parked outside the headquarters monitoring our activities.

Additionally, there have been many instances that the sari-sari store adjacent our headquarters had been bothered by various unidentified men asking the whereabouts of our coordinators and who are the people inside our headquarters. Lanao Coordinators of ACT Teachers Partylist, Kabataan Partylist and Anakpawis Partylist have also been receiving calls from unidentified persons.

Earlier, the Lanao Provincial Assembly of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines on February 22-24, 2013 at Villa Lacida Resort in linamon, Lanao del Norte was also harassed. An uninvited man who did not disclose his name trespassed the assembly on February 22, asked for the copy of the program, and stayed around the assembly for about 45minutes.  After the Assembly, the elected Vice Chairperson of CEGP Lanao, Riz Sunio, received calls from a certain Armando Liman who identified himself as a member of the Philippine National Police. The caller tried to befriend Sunio and asked her about CEGP’s planned activities, especially on March 8 International Women’s Day. CEGP-Lanao is currently occupying an office space at the Makabayan headquarters, and is also a member of the Kabataan Partylist.

Needless to say, those who are aspiring for genuine change and democracy for the people are the ones being targeted of harassment and intimidation courtesy of the state forces. This clearly shows that the current political set-up ruled by a few elite families will do everything just to maintain the status quo and hinder the politics of change brought about by the progressive coalition of MAKABAYAN with Teddy CasiƄo as senatorial candidate and allied partylists BayanMuna, Gabriela Womens Party, Anakpawis, Kabataan, Piston, KATRIBU, Migrante and Akap Bata.

We will not take these with a blind eye, we vow to file charges against any officials of the police, military or any individuals who disregard the rights of our coordinators, officers, volunteers and members. The history of human rights violations perpetuated by state forces toward the progressive bloc speaks for itself. The 137 extrajudicial killings, 14 enforced disappearances and more than 27,000 cases of harassment under the Pinoy administration exhibit the continuing human rights violations done with impunity.

And most of all, we will never be cowed. We will continue to assert our desire for change despite the continued attacks against our ranks. Now more than ever, the people’s assertion for national development and respect on our democratic rights have been all the more justified, and became even more urgent.

For reference:

Vennel Francis Chenfoo
Spokesperson, MAKABAYAN Lanao
Tel: +63 (63) 222 6515
Mobile: +63 935 233 1509
E-mail: makabayan.lanao@gmail.com