Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Metro Manila and member organizations staged a Black Friday Protest at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to slam the recently-formed National Capital Region Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NCR TF-ELCAC).
The group compared NCR TF-ELCAC to Ferdinand Marcos’ era where it makes Metro Manila residents vulnerable to different forms and degrees of human rights violations (HRVs).
The task force was created by the NCR Regional Development Council, which is under the National Economic and Development Authority and Regional Peace and Order Council of the National Security Council.
BAYAN Metro Manila Chairperson Raymond Palatino pointed out that individuals and members of mass organizations in different urban poor communities reported harassment and intimidation from police and military especially in the CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) area where they have been deployed.
“Ang deployment na ito ay iligal dahil unang-una ang kanilang ginagawa ay harassment sa ating mga miyembro. Tinatarget ang iba’t ibang pangmasang organisasyong tinatakot ang ating mga kasapi at ginagawang krimen ang pagiging miyembro ng KADAMAY, Anakbayan, Gabriela at iba pa.” Palatino said.
[This deployment is illegal because in the first place what they are doing are harassment to our members, they are targeting different mass organizations, intimidating our members and they’re making it a crime to be a member of KADAMAY, Anakbayan, Gabriela and other organizations.]
On the first meeting of NCR TF-ELCAC, NCR Police Office chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar said that CAMANAVA is a tactical area for recruitment for alleged legal fronts of Communist Party of the Philippines.
“The presence of the mass base ay ‘yung mga urban poor [ang] nakikita natin so more on CAMANAVA area,” Eleazar said.
Palatino said that these counterinsurgency programs in Metro Manila will lead to militarization in urban poor communities and instill a de facto martial law in the country’s foremost urban center.
“Wala pong masama ang maging aktibista. Wala pong mali na lumaban at tumindig para sa ating karapatan,” Palatino ended.
[There is nothing wrong with being activists. There is nothing wrong with fighting and standing for our rights.]