Justice for Ka Randy and all EJK victims!

Blood was spilled. It has long tainted our land, from the grains that are yet to sprout to the concrete street in the cities. No matter what face, name, or color sits on the throne, the story remains the same: state-sponsored slaughter of the FIlipino people. We witnessed one massacre after another — farmers, indigenous people, workers, urban poor, and even the youth.

When the strongman President Rodrigo Duterte took office, a looming tyranny hovered over us and the streets were soon painted red. Carrying the promise of annihilation, his regime waged a war against drugs that quickly became a one-sided war against the poor. “Uwi na, baka ma-tokhang ka ng pulis!” became the new boogeyman to scare the children. As police institutions reeked with impunity with the nanlaban narrative, dead bodies on the pavement became the “usual” for many. Yet, as the death count rolled higher, the calls for justice roared.

Three years ago today, a 17-year old student from Caloocan became one of the youngest victims of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. Kian Loyd delos Santos plead for his life, “Tama na po, may test pa ako bukas (Please stop, I have a test tomorrow),” then he was fatally shot by police officers. The incident was caught on a CCTV footage, different from the official police report.

Despite the report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that 5,526 suspects were killed in these operations, domestic human rights groups estimate that the death toll is as high as 27,000, according to the Human Rights Watch World Report. While the UN Human Rights Council recorded that 73 children were killed by the police since 2016, with the youngest victim being 5 months old.
Four years into Duterte’s presidency, the nation remains as the deadliest place for farmers. To date, at least 262 farmers have been butchered under his regime, just 8 farmers shy of Aquino’s peasant death toll as stated by Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA).

With the spread of coronavirus, the state made use of the region-wide lockdowns to perpetuate a massive crackdown against activists and dissenters. We recall Carlito Badion, Jory Porquia, and recently, Randall Echanis, the chairperson of Anakpawis party-list and deputy secretary-general of Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), who fell victim to Duterte’s fascist rule. Even here in Central Luzon, police personnel were in search of peasant leader Joseph Canlas following a surge of death threats.

No one is deemed safe from the state’s reign of terror. Standing up for people’s rights is a courageous yet deadly act under the current political climate. Even journalists whose responsibility is to expose the truth are targeted. Anyone can be the next Kian or Ka Randy.

Time and again, the regime has proven its loyalty is not for the Filipino, and history has shown that the real power is in the hands of the people. The chants for justice and liberation will not falter, it will only grow stronger. For the state, red is for blood and the targets on our heads but for the people, red is for militancy and liberation. With fists in the air, let us all unite against this tyrannic government.

Art by Marienel Calma


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