By Baretang Bikolnon Staff
SORSOGON CITY – During the Bicol wide caravan in Sorsogon on April 9, the Sorsogon Movement for Justice, Peace and Civil Liberties (SOMO) led the delegates to demand justice to the victims of militarization in the communities.
According to Arnold Furo, Bulusan municipal coordinator of SOMO, Charter Change will be a huge hindrance on the interest of the masses especially when it comes to their rights and sovereignity.
“When our constitution changes, there will be 100 percent foreign ownership which their domination will pave way and we Filipinos will be more oppressed in our own land. Much more, our democratic rights will be repressed,” said Furo.
The group slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for the false hope regarding the promised changes. According to Furo, they hoped for solving the rampant human rights violations.
At present, the country has Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Military Logistic Supply Agreement (MLSA), and Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States.
Based in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, foreign military bases, foreign military troops deployment and foreign military facilities are prohibited in the territory of the country if there were no concurrence of the Senate.
However, Duterte encourages foreign military forces like Russia, Australia and Japan to establish their military presence in the territory of the Philippines.
In the proposed Chacha, BAYAN Bicol explained that it eliminates the provision that requires the concurrence of the Senate in any military agreements with a foreign country.
“It violates national sovereignty and allows military intervention of imperialist countries just like the intervention of US Special Forces in Mamasapano,” Dan Balucio, BAYAN Bicol said.
Furo said there will be more human rights violations if there will more military interventions from powerful countries that capitalizes war for profits.
Alarming Human Rights Violations
Total of 189 human rights violations were at least documented by Karapatan Sorsogon under the Duterte administration. Majority of these were cases of threat, harassment and intimidation, 66 human rights violations.
The most recent case was last February 24 wherein two civilians from Sta Barbara, Odikin were harassed and threatened by state forces who were then conducting military operations against the New People’s Army. On the fact finding mission conducted by Sorsogon People’s Organization (SPO) and Karapatan, report said that the two civilians were just searching for a native shell called “tabagwang” and vegetables for lunch when military passed and interrogated the victims.
The victims said that they have been maliciously tagged as member of the NPAs and forced to point out the hideout.
Another case was last 1st week of April wherein another two civilians in the municipality of Bulan were forced to join in the military operation as a guide in search for the members of NPAs.
“These cases were alarming, if not killings, massive harassment and intimidation were brutally done against the masses. This is the cause of dictatorial style of Duterte, and this is just one high reason in the province why we opposed his chacha,” said Furo.
A walk and light for solidarity
As a symbol of continuous fight and struggle of Sorsoganons, torch parade was conducted not just for the resistance on chacha but also in all inhumaneness and injustices they experiencing.
SOMO along with other progressive organizations stand to serve and protect in accordance to the interest of the masses.
SOMO was organized last November 2017 and was launched last January 2018, an alliance against social injustices and tyranny. It is composed of church people, local government unit (LGU) and other individuals.
They have campaigned against the tyrannical and dictatorial form of government of Duterte and aims to formally lay justice on the victims of human rights violations in the province. SOMO is also a convenor of Bicol Movement Against Tyranny (BMAT). (With report from Angel De Mesa/BaretangBikolnon.com)