Put your actions where your mouth is. Are you truly willing to Defend Negros?
On November 22, 2018, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed Memorandum Order No. 32, by order of President Rodrigo Duterte. Malacañang released the document, which affected the areas of Samar, Negros Oriental, and Negros Occidental, to the media the following day.
Memorandum Order No. 32
Reinforcing the guidelines for the Armed Forces Of The Philippines and the Philippine National Police in the implementation of measures to suppress and prevent lawless violence.
Malacañang orders deployment of additional troops to quell violence in Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Bicol and reinforces guidelines under state of national emergency on account of lawless violence. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/w94bMldRcO
— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) November 23, 2018
Before you have any reactions, you need to understand what happened there. You need to ask yourself, “What lawless violence are they trying to suppress?” because the MO doesn’t actually site any examples. Instead, it is vague in saying that “a number of sporadic acts of violence have occurred” and that they “appear to have been committed by lawless groups,” which they don’t want “spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country.”
Cool. We love ourselves some cloudy truth. But anyway, here’s what was happening Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo cited: ambush attacks, assaults on police detachments and the massacre of workers. That massacre that the government has pinned on the New People’s Army has been dubbed the Sagay 9 due to the death of nine sugarcane farmers from Sagay City—which the NPA has rejected.
So yes, there was definite violence happening around those areas and you might even be able to rightfully say that MO 32 has basis. But let’s take a look at what’s happened since November 22.
Image via Rappler
In eight months since the implementation of this anti-insurgency policy, the body count has more than doubled to 87 (a 350% increase in the rate of killings). A July ambush from the NPA was met with action on the side of the AFP against civilians, activists and peasant advocates who organize and mobilize against oppressive feudal relations.
Look, I don’t live in Samar, Negros Oriental or Negros Occidental; I don’t know what’s happening there. There is no way I can tell you what’s truth and what’s fiction, what’s propaganda and what’s transparency. But I can tell you that something is happening there, that people are dying and all that they’re rallying for is a little bit of justice, some resemblance of what’s fair and a chance to get their due.
But if there’s a way to get a little more clearance, it’s to take part in a conversation. And on September 5 (Thursday), we’re being given a chance to be part of that conversation (and some great musical performances).
Catch performances from Shirebound & Busking, BP Valenzuela, The Buildings, BLKD + Calix, Panday Sining CSB and more. And maybe more importantly, you’ll hear from representatives from the Kabataan Partylist and Defend Negros.
Take part of the conversation. Do your due diligence. Show up and we’ll see you there.
You can learn more about Sa Ngalan Ng Tubo: A Night Of Solidarity For Negros, of which all proceeds will be given to the families of the victims in the recent massacres in Negros, here.
Art Alexandra Lara