Lasting peace necessitates justice
The masses of Negros have consistently been targeted by state violence. Particularly since the Duterte regime and the current illegitimate Marcos regime, Negrosanons—especially farmers and farm workers—have become victims of counterrevolutionary violence and human rights violations. As we commemorate the 75th International Human Rights Day, it is important to underscore the ongoing culture of impunity promoted by the fascists and their ilk.
Under the Marcos II regime alone, there have been 55 victims of extrajudicial killings, or three Negrosanons arbitrarily killed per month. This includes the brutal massacres of the Jacolbes in Guihulngan City (including 16-year old Everly Kee Jacolbe) and the Fausto family (including two minors) in Himamaylan City and five hors de combat (including a six-month pregnant woman) in Kabankalan City, and the cold-blooded murders of NDFP peace consultants Rogelio Posadas and Ericson Acosta.
Abductions have also increased under the current Marcos regime. Out of the 11 desaparecidos since July 2022, four are from Negros Island. Lyn Grace Marturillas, Deah Lopez, Renel delos Santos and Denald Mialen remain missing until today.
Furthermore, political prisoners in Negros comprise 17% (about one out of every five) of the country’s total. Majority of them are farmers and farm workers maliciously red-tagged and subsequently arrested for trumped-up charges by the AFP/PNP/NTF-Elcac combined, abusing the draconian Anti-Terror Law to hasten their witch-hunting.
Militarization of the entire island through focused military operations and Retooled Community Support Programs are, contrary to reactionary state propaganda, is the bane of the people. Mercenary forces have been emboldened by their authoritarian commander-in-chief, both current and predecessor, normalizing human rights violations such as red-tagging, assault, threats and harassment, illegal detention and arrest, indiscriminate firing, rape, and salvaging, among other brazen violations under the guise of “winning the peace.”
While the National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros and its allied organizations welcome the recent joint communique released by the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on efforts to resume peace talks, it also recognizes that this is a long and arduous process that requires the utmost sincerity from a state imposing de facto martial law. After all, building a lasting peace entails justice for all victims of the reactionary state.
Duterte and his henchmen must be made to answer for their crimes. In Negros, it means holding him accountable for the Sagay Massacre, Oplans Sauron 1 and 2, and the subsequent murders and massacres that made Negros into a fascist breeding ground and killing field. The victims and kin of the current regime should be given justice as well, by punishing the uniformed terrorists behind the heinous state-sponsored crimes.
The release of NDFP consultants and political prisoners must be made a priority for the peace process to effectively progress. The NTF-Elcac and the Anti-Terror Law, which have enabled the AFP and PNP to brazenly violate the CARHRIHL to the point of even glorifying their crimes as “achievements” and other displays of delusion of grandeur, must be abolished. Even Marcos’ bogus amnesty program will only worsen the corrupt campaign of fake surrenderees that must also be stopped.
Despite cracks within the ruling Marcos-Duterte clique, they are united in counterrevolution. But they are also in each others’ throats for the biggest share of bureaucratic corruption. Sara Duterte and her allies in government are pushing the narrative to continue wanton brutality and corruption. She further exposes their faction as genuine terrorists and power-hungry thugs.
The anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-fascist alliance in Negros must broaden and consolidate its ranks among the oppressed and exploited sectors to confront the ruling Marcos-Duterte clique. Negrosanons must continue to defy and resist state fascism and terrorism, and fight for justice against relentless human rights violations. Ultimately, without justice, there can be no just and lasting peace.###