Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Progressive groups accuse military of hate campaign, black propaganda in Mindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - A coalition of progressive lawmakers and party-list groups in Mindanao accused the Philippine military of harassing them.

The Makabayan Coalition cited the latest “black-propaganda” attacks on their campaign materials, labelling their group with the text “NPA” or New People’s Army.

Jayvee Apiag, secretariat of Makabayan Cotabato, said suspected soldiers put markings “NPA” on their posters including that of Reps. Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party and Kabataan party list and said it is a violation of the rights of political candidates and parties against from any form of coercion, threats and intimidation, directly or indirectly during the campaign period.

Apiag said there is no truth about the labeling and tagging to their groups stressing that it was merely harassment and political assault

“Most of our campaign posters are painted with the label “NPA” by “John Does” which violates our rights and the Omnibus Election Code based on Article XXII that tackles election offenses. We condemn it on the highest term this kind of harassment to our groups. This kind of black-propaganda against us will not hamper us to further advance politics of change in our government” Apiag said in a statement.

Makabayan Cotabato noted the nationwide trending of black-propaganda against the coalition which is said to be part of the Arroyo administration campaign to cease the growing support of the people to partylist groups under the Makabayan and its senatorial candidates Ocampo and Maza.

According to the latest Pulse Asia survey on party list groups conducted last month, five organizations - Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Kabataan and ACT Teachers - under Makabayan Coalition may have won if election was held during the survey.

Also, in the local poll survey conducted by Notre Dame Research Center, among the Top 15 Senatoriables only Ocampo and Maza landed on top 13 and 15 respectively.

“With the growing support of our people, we can win our campaign to bring our genuine representatives in the government. We condemn rampant political and human rights violations against our progressive groups, leaders and members. Let us fail political ambitions of Arroyos to stay in power and its campaign, Oplan Bantay Laya or OBL,” Apiag concluded.

The group believed that paintings of “NPA” on their posters were just another form of political assault and is part of Oplan Bantay Laya which suppressed political rights of their group throughout the nine-year administration of Arroyo. The groups have also a record of long-list human rights violation under the government's anti-insurgency campaign.

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