Members of progressive groups in Negros Occidental trooped to the Bacolod City public plaza this afternoon, December 10, to commemorate the 72nd International Human Rights Day.
The rallyists braved the heat and downpour as they marched through downtown Bacolod.
They called on the government to abolish the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and to stop the red-tagging of government critics. They also demanded justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings and called for the junking of the Anti-Terror Law.
Clarizza Singson, secretary-general of Karapatan Negros Island, said that throughout President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous reign, Negros Island has been spattered with blood.
“Negros Island is still a simmering ‘social volcano’ as it continues to be quelled with decades-old failed land reform, hunger, and poverty. Such social injustices breed greater resistance from the masses. Thus, it is no surprise that Duterte would make this island a top priority for its crackdown on dissent,” she said.
Since 2016, there have been 92 recorded cases of extrajudicial killings in Negros, she said, claiming that Negros is one of the worst places for human rights defenders and peasants in the country.
“It also has become a lab rat for trumped-up charges and crackdowns on legal activists and progressive organizations,” she added.
She said: “In this International Human Rights Day, Karapatan Negros Island vows to continue exposing the atrocities waged by this regime. Despite the harassments and threats, we will courage on until Duterte pays for every single bloodshed on our island of Negros.”
The group also called for the ouster of Duterte.*