By John Rizle L. Saligumba
DAVAO CITY – The spokesperson of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) took to the media to make public the threats she has been receiving from a man claiming to be a “government national security consultant” of an organization working for the government.
Sheena Duazo said that someone called her number up last December 23 but chose not to answer it when the number was not registered in her phone. She then received a series of text messages afterwards from a certain Ian Rod Tan.
Tan said he got Duazo’s number from a certain Lucas Lopez who he claimed he replaced as his organization’s security consultant.
Tan allegedly offered Duazo help.
“You have an (a)tenean blood, so am I, we can aid and protect each other, things are going to be rough for the next 12 months. You have a child, so am I, two in my case. Let’s help each other,” said Tan in the text message shown to Davao Today by Duazo.
However, Duazo believed that the whole message carried an undertone.
“Regardless of the intention and authenticity of the message it is a clear attempt to scare not only me but progressive individuals and organizations. It aims to mum us from exposing corruption in government and the numerous human rights violations that are happening,” Duazo said.
Duazo said it is a “desperate move of the State in its implementation of its internal security plan Bayanihan.” The Operation Plan Bayanihan is the Armed Forces’ current counterinsurgency operation putting emphasis on putting up infrastructure and development projects while conducting regular military and intelligence operations.
“They have done so with various progressive leaders, even resorting to extra-judicial killings,” she said.
Duazo said he received the last text message from Tan on January 5, two days after Marcelo Monterona, a survivor of typhoon Pablo and human rights activist, who was killed in Maco, Davao del Norte.
Duazo was part of the quick response team who went to the hospital where she took pictures of Monterona’s body and posted it on Facebook.
Incidentally, Monterona’s death was also a topic of Tan’s last message to Duazo.
“Nga pala, yon pinatay sa maco last friday, its true kung ano man yon sinabi nila (an eye for an eye) that’s the reason why my organization do not want to work with the afp and the pnp [sic]. (By the way, the one killed in Maco last Friday, what they is the true (an eye for an eye) that’s the reason why my organization do not want to work with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police,” Tan said in the message.
For Hanimay Suazo of the human rights group Karapatan, the threat to Duazo’s life is very real.
“It follows the pattern of monitoring, vilification and ultimately neutralization. It means you are scared, killed, converted [to turn government agent] to force you to stop what you are doing especially in acting as critics of the government” Duazo said.
Duazo said that such threats are not new and is part of the “government’s counter-insurgency war which do not really distinguish from armed combatants or civilians as long are criticizing the government”
“This has been happening since Martial Law to the GMA (former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) government. There are already 1,206 political activists killed, abducted and illegally arrested. This continues until now to Pnoy’s [Pres. Benigno Aquino] time where no one was prosecuted even [retired Major General Jovito] Palparan,” said Duazo.
For Suazo, extrajudicial killings and threats to activists intensified as they also struggle against “development aggression.”
“These killings and threats are part of the people’s resistance to the entry and operation of foreign large-mining operations and the expansion of mono-crop plantations which the state protects through the military,” she said.
Meanwhile, Duazo reminds human rights defenders and political and environmental activists to take threats seriously and to be cautions while their “battle” continues. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)armed forces of the philippines, extrajudicial killings, Human Rights, oplan bayanihan, Philippine National Police