Condemn Echanis’ arrest! Demand an end to the state’s red-tagging!

Amanda Echanis’ illegal arrest is a maneuver as desperate as it is repugnant.

Even as farmers from Cagayan are reeling from the effects of consecutive typhoons and the state’s abandonment, the regime has apparently set its cross hairs today on peasant leaders from the region.

Amanda Echanis, daughter of murdered Anakpawis Chairman Randy Echanis, was arrested with trumped up charges in the same day a joint AFP-PNP operation raided the home of Isabelo “Buting” Adviento, Anakpawis regional coordinator, and planted evidence with the goal of his arrest.

Echanis was at the time with her one-month old newborn baby; while Adviento has been active in relief drives to help those affected by typhoon Ulysses in Cagayan Valley. They have both been falsely accused of having ties with the CPP-NPA.

The consecutive attacks come a day after a second Senate hearing tackling the spate of red-tagging against progressive lawmakers, activists, and other democratic forces. Despite the hearing being used by Duterte’s fascist gofers in the government and military merely as a platform to dismiss the ill-effects of red-tagging and further their campaign of fear and intimidation against dissent, it becomes clearer to the people how red-tagging puts lives in the way of peril.

The Duterte regime will stop at nothing to try to justify its unjustifiable red-tagging of activists and dissenters. It will go as far as apprehending a mother with charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives—all while in the presence of her newborn child.

The regime is desperately trying to veil its failures by creating false enemies. Instead of tending to its responsibilities including delivering aid and assistance to farmers and peasant communities whose livelihoods were destroyed by successive calamities, the state instead makes a target out of the people who devote their time to working with these communities towards its recuperation and collective development.

These attacks in Cagayan Valley are reminiscent of Oplan Sauron in Negros in 2018 to 2019—the joint AFP-PNP operation that witnessed the EJK-style murder of several leaders of peasant organizations and other progressive groups. In the end, Sauron was nothing but a killing spree for the Duterte’s military goons—a way to legitimize the deaths of “suspected communists” and suppress growing unrest among the masses.

The worsening crisis and rising discontent among the people in Cagayan Valley will surely strengthen the mass movement and back the regime to a corner. As the region is now faced with the double burden of trying to rebuild their lives and sources of income while also trying to avoid contracting the coronavirus, the state is now more than ever scared of the democratic forces who are actively helping and organizing peasant communities in Cagayan.

The people must demand for the immediate release of Amanda Echanis and for Duterte’s AFP-PNP to cease all attempts at arbitrarily arresting mass leaders and activists! Resist the state’s red-tagging and expose the Duterte fascist regime for its crimes and fascism!

Condemn Echanis’ arrest! Demand an end to the state’s red-tagging!