Police harassment vs PAMALAKAYA members in Quezon continues
Sariaya, Quezon – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday decried the recent harassment committed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the Quezon Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) against the fisherfolk in the coastal barangays of Sariaya, Quezon.
According to Ara Marcellana, PAMALAKAYA organizer and regional coordinator in Southern Tagalog, the first harassment, dubbed by the PNP as ‘operation strike’ occurred on February 18 where 10 elements of the PNP in a full battle gear rummaged Brgy. Guisguis Talon to search for her and her two other colleagues. Marcellana said they are being accused by the PNP of being members of the communist-New People’s Army (NPA). The PNP interrogated the fisherfolk in the area on the whereabouts of the organizers, they even threatened the fishers not to entertain the organizers or else they will also get arrested.
The same thing happened on March 5 where 12 PNP returned to the same coastal barangay and accused the fisherfolk and other coastal residents that they are accepting and accommodating NPA members in their community. The fisherfolk denied the allegations, saying they are members of PAMALAKAYA and the organizers are helping them on their local issue which is the planned conversion of their coastal community into a coal-fired thermal power plant of the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Global Power Holdings Inc.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap assailed the PNP for the harassment and threat they commit to the fishers and its organizers.
“The PNP has been deliberately disrupting the legitimate organizing activities of our local chapter in Quezon in order to sow fear to the fishing community and stop their objection on the proposed coal-fired thermal power plant project. We reiterate our claim that Marcellana, her two other colleagues and the fisherfolk in Sariaya are all legitimate members and organizers of PAMALAKAYA and not connected to any armed-rebel group contrary to the PNP’s accusation,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said the attacks of the state forces against unarmed activists have intensify after President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks between his government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) accompanied with an all-out-war declaration versus the communist rebels. But the fisherfolk lamented that the real target of government’s total war is not the armed rebels in the mountains but the unarmed members of progressive and mass organizations like PAMALAKAYA.
“How ironic that those who are fighting for the rights and welfare of the marginalized people are being tagged as members of the NPA, while the PNP that has the slogan of ‘to serve and protect’ is the one who suppresses and deprives those freedom fighters of their right to organize and to uphold the people’s basic rights,”
“We reiterate our call to President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the all-out-war and return to the peace negotiating table with the NDFP because the only target of the government’s unjust total war is the unarmed civilians and activists,” Hicap ended.
PAMALAKAYA will hold a dialogue with Sariaya Muncipal Mayor Marcelo Gayeta on Friday to demand an investigation of the harassment and ensure the safety of the fisherfolk and organizers. ###