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NGOs condemn police brutality in rally

/ 12:12 AM October 29, 2016

The Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes (PNFSP) vehemently condemns the fascist acts committed by the Philippine National Police against the national minorities holding a protest rally in front of the US Embassy last Oct. 19.

Among the PNFSP’s member organizations are NGOs especially working to uphold the rights of the country’s national minorities. The whole network is thus outraged over the blatant disregard of human rights by police officers in their violent attempt to disperse the protesters.

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Indigenous peoples help ensure the nation’s food security by protecting their ancestral lands and practicing sustainable forms of farming. However, they were forced to leave their homes in remote villages all over the country, march together and convene in Manila in order to protest the imperialist plunder committed by foreign countries, foremost of which is the United States. Various foreign-owned mining and logging companies, agribusinesses, and other transnational corporations forcibly seize the ancestral lands of national minorities in order to exploit the nation’s rich resources as raw materials for their products. These will then be imported back to the Philippines at a higher price, thus reaping greater profits for the capitalist countries.

In fact, the call of the national minorities goes hand-in-hand with the current thrust of the Duterte administration to pursue an “independent foreign policy,” indicating that the government will espouse and implement policies that would safeguard its national interests. And during his recent visit to China, President Duterte said that it was “time to say goodbye to the US.” His latest pronouncement clearly echoes the calls of the indigenous groups, peasants, workers and activists for the US forces to get out of the Philippines.

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It is thus incomprehensible why the government’s own police officers chose to protect the US Embassy instead of heeding the call of their own countrymen and that of their President. The PNFSP is thus calling on President Duterte to take urgent and decisive actions against the abusive and sadistic policemen involved in the violent dispersal of national minorities and protesters in front of the US Embassy. The rights of our indigenous brothers and sisters must be respected and their call for self-determination must be upheld.

SHARLENE LOPEZ, officer in charge, Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, [email protected]

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TAGS: national minorities, NGOs, Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, rally dispersal, us embassy, Violence
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